It was the summer of 2009 when Rock On!! came out. I still remember going to my friend’s house to watch it on his big television. I know, you will be Googling and saying that the movie came out in 2008 so why did we watch it in 2009. We lived in Siliguri mate and Siliguri used to run 1 year late than the rest of the world. Anyway, we started watching the movie without any expectations and by the time the credits started to roll we were just blown away by what we had watched.
It was the first time the nation got to see yet another talent of Farhan Akhtar. Even though it was going to be his acting debut, the movie became something more than that. Rock On!! brought a movie that the Indian audience hadn’t seen before. Please don’t say that Mithun’s Disco Dancer was about music. It was anything but about music. Jokes apart, Rock On!! was a breath of fresh-air and included itself in a large list of good movies that came out in 2008 like A Wednesday, Jodhaa Akbar, RNBDJ, Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na etc. The movie also brought about a societal change and actually inspired people to do something. Each and every song reverberated in everyone’s hearts and created Magik!(that’s not a spelling mistake, that’s the name of the band)
9 years have passed and a lot of things have changed in India. Almost, everything has changed in our lives and the nation needed a Rock On. Is this the one? Let’s see.
STORY/SCREENPLAY – The original movie was helmed by Abhishek Kapoor but this movie had it’s problems from the beginning. There was a messy battle between the producers and the director which led to a change in the director and, by the looks of it, a change in the story too. Where the 1st movie’s story was written by Abhishek Kapoor and the screenplay was written by Pubali Chaudhuri, this one’s story writing credit has gone to both of them. Judging by the legal battle that ensued between them regarding the writing credits, it is highly probable that major changes underwent in order to form a movie.
Anyway, Rock On 2 begins with one of my most hated aspects: Narration. Here K.D(Purab Kohli) is narrating the movie to the walls in his dubbing room and according to him Magik has broken up due to the choice each of the band-members have made. A fan of Magik had committed suicide so Aditya(Farhan Akthar) has isolated himself to a village in Meghalaya(probably). Joe(Arjun Rampal) is the judge of a talent show like Indian Idol and K.D does some odd jobs by making music for some tech giant(maybe, they didn’t explain that too well). So on Aditya’s birthday they decide to get together and reminisce and bring back the idea of reforming the band. Soon, some stuff happens and lo and behold. We have a new band, with absolutely no chemistry and every chance of falling apart again.
Rock On!! succeeded because it kept Aditya’s past hidden until Sakshi(Prachi Desai) went through his diary or conversed with K.D. Here we have K.D explaining each and every aspect of the movie. The movie is so heavy-handed regarding everybody’s demons that by the team the characters get to know about that, there is just no emotion left. I mean, if you keep saying the things that are obvious a million times before the intermission, how are we supposed to feel emotional along with the characters. I get it that they are getting to know, but we already know the spoilers.
Another point of failure is the ultimate conclusion of each of the characters. In the 1st movie, everyone goes through a struggle and by the end of the movie they get to know each other again. Here there is no such arc. They begin by taking jabs at each other’s life choices and that arc is never completed. No conversation, no confrontation. They just hug it out, out of nowhere. Jiah(Shraddha Kapoor) leaves her father and becomes something she never wanted to be and doesn’t even reconcile with him. Sakshi flip-flops from caring about Adi, to hating Adi, to hating Adi even more and then caring about him again? What the hell!!
On top of all that the dialogues are written extremely poorly. It’s just too over-dramatic. In Rock On!! when Adi and Sakshi, or Joe and Debbie(Shahana Goswami) understand each other, there is no humongous dialogue heavy scene. It was handled with such subtlety and somehow, it was conveyed to the audience as well. In this one, everything is just being spoken out loudly, as if we are dunces.
DIRECTION – I can’t blame too much on Shujaat Saudagar because of the multiple problems he had to take on which wasn’t even because of him. He had the bad luck of inheriting it. So there isn’t much he could do. There are just static cameras everywhere and everything feels so commercial. Rock On!! had a grungy and gritty feel to it that is just completely absent. There are so many dialogue heavy scenes and still he didn’t make the effort to make it look engaging. There was absolutely no intensity in this movie. A hint of brilliance was seen during the scene where the village gets burnt, but after that it’s all the same. Just drudging around for a good 2 and a half hours.The songs were the highlight of the 1st movie. In this movie, even the songs feel so uninspired. Only Manzar Naya is listenable.
It actually felt like a full on Hindi soap opera. There was no optimum level. Every character was either brooding and scowling or shouting at the top of their voices. I am not kidding. There is nothing called normal in the movie. Even the tone of the entire movie felt absolutely depressing. There is a brief entry of hope into the movie and then the movie cuts to the narration about how everything is fine. At that point I was actually screaming,”We want to see how it happens??”. The unnecessary back-story of the guy who had committed suicide is narrated and shown a thousand times but the reason why Aditya took it so hard on himself wasn’t even explained or shown in the movie. I just didn’t understand why all of a sudden the entire movie rocked back to the societal message thing at the moment where I thought they were going to do something about their lives. I guess they had run out of ideas to get the band together. But hey! When you have coincidence with you, why do you need intelligent writing? So, everyone is present wherever that character should be at that exact moment. It’s not like they get to listen something at the last moment, or witness something at the last moment. No, they are there at the exact moment of requirement. No questions asked.
ACTING – Everybody, except Shashank Arora as Uday, was all over the place. Not their fault though. They were given the task to either scream or brood. So yeah, not their fault at all.
FINAL VERDICT – Absolutely do not watch this. Go watch Rock On!! instead. I watched it a few days before watching this and it is a 100 times better than this. Rock On 2 is a sequel that nobody asked for and should have never been made. Rock On!! ended like a complete circle and it was a lame cash-grabbing attempt to make a sequel. So, in all finality, give this one a miss and watch the 1st part and enjoy.
Thanks for reading.