There’s just too much going on in the second installment of Rock on which was first released 8 years back marking the debut of Farhan Akhtar. On the face of it, this looks like a completely new film. Or perhaps too many films packaged into one.
Rock on was not a unique story but its subtlety in storytelling binded it all together with some great music. The best song of this movie is the new version of the original Rock On title song, which still cannot beat the original.
The first half has been edited nicely and the build-up keeps you interested but as soon as second half starts, the melodrama suddenly overtakes the storyline. So much so that the song “Jaago…” sounds like a wakeup call for the audience.
The sequel follows the band “Magic” and the changing life of its members. The lead singer, Aditya Shroff(Farhan), lives a life in a village in Meghalaya helping farmers with a co-operative. Joe Mascaranhas (Arjun Rampal) is a reality TV judge and KD (Purab Kohli) again seems to be the guy that brings the band together to make “music” again. Why did they stop? That forms part of the central plot of the movie.
Jia’s (Shraddha Kapoor) father in the movie is a well-known Music legend who disapproves of “fusion” music. While Uday (Shashank Arora of Titli fame) is a Sarod player who comes into Jia’s life and they together end up meeting the Magik band. Although Shashank seems to have been wasted or probably wasn’t needed at all!
The movie would have been sufficient had they stopped adding more to the storyline and just kept one theme as its central plot. But like many other sequels before, this one, also falls into the trap of “doing something more” than its prequel. The prequel worked because it focused on one thing, bringing the band together. Here it is not only about that (again), but bringing it together for a “cause”, then trying to tell how music isn’t limited to “one-definition”, relationships between children-parents, and a lot more. And all that in just 2 hours! Phew!
The time needed by the audience to invest in characters, especially when it comes to a drama, is missing.
What works for the movie is its acting. It is also commendable to notice the presence of local actors to provide it a refreshingly authentic look. Farhan, Arjun, Purab have done a good job. Shradha, however, ends up singing better than her acting and she appears out of frame in many of the scenes. The best scene of the movie is perhaps when a dejected Farhan after having come out of a tragedy drives around the hills. The Cinematography is amazing as well.
However, elements like these are far and few and the movie needed more of this than the over-the-top ones which have been pushed together towards the end of the movie.
Shujaat Saudagar, who dons the hat of the director for the first time, has put in the hard work to put life into the story and its characters. However, apart from the leads, the depth lacks in the characters. The presence of Abhishek Kapoor who directed the first one with perfection can be easily felt and a stark difference in approach can be seen.
I’m going with 2/5 for Rock On 2. If you’ve loved the first movie and your expectations are high, you might be disappointed. It isn’t a bad movie and is definitely a one-time watch for the acting of the ensemble cast.