Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani
Karan Johar. The man might be at the center of an array of controversies for the right and wrong reasons but if he is managing to strike a return to filmmaking with a film like Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani (RRKPK) - I am here to care about his filmmaking and not care about anything else.
Johar is reminding the viewers that he has evolved with time but hasn't lost touch with his signature self, something he is known for and something we don't want him to lose. Even then is the film worth what your time and money, here's me telling you the aspects that might help you on whether you should watch the film or not-ALSO READ: Ranveer Singh's response to critics on 'Don 3' casting - 'ek mauka dedo'
The Karan Johar Touch
It is fascinating that Johar is such a newsmaker almost consistently but is never in the news for his filmmaking abilities. After striking cult status with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum, I can safely say that RRKPK acts as the perfect reminder of what his capabilities are. With RRKPK, Johar does what he does best with grand sets, musical numbers aplenty and family melodrama. But he has not only changed with time but has evolved as well and so have his characters in the film. It has become a norm to touch up on feminism, gender discrimination, patriarchy and other factors these days in any film but Johar is very careful about making sure he strikes an apt blend of subtlety and obvious commentary on these aforementioned topics.
It is true that the second-half becomes a bit more obvious than subtle but you understand the reason for the same and when you blend it with whistle-worthy dialogues and moments, it's all forgiven. Is this Karan Johar's best film? Maybe not his absolute best but most definitely a better film than his last two films and in 2023, where everything is scrutinized to unthinkable limits, it is as good as a commercial potboiler family drama can get.
The Humor & Nuggets of Fun
It is easily ignored how Johar somehow has an incredible knack for audience's acceptance of humor in respect to the times he has made the film in. The one-liners and situations from K3G are as hilarious and iconic today as they were back then. With RRKPK too, he has struck gold. The humor is absolutely fantastic and almost every joke lands with its intention. Much of it is at the expense of Ranveer Singh aka Rocky but boy is it one constantly 'rocking' hilarious moment after another. I won't be surprised if Rocky's lingo of how's u, whatevs, etc. becomes the conversation topic on social media and it should be after everyone appreciates it.
Then comes Johar being subtle with all the nuggets of nostalgia and his love for old songs. The first half is jam-packed with one medley of an old song after another for some adorable scenes and it is an absolute delight. His love for the old classics is so evident that not only is that a part of those segments but also acts out in an array of jokes and situations. And that one moment (not going to spoil it for you) in the first half when all the primary actors of the ensemble cast are present was brilliantly aided by the same retro songs and love which led us to hooting, whistling and going bananas.
The Evolution With Time
After a brilliant first-half, Johar goes to awareness mode in the second half where he touches upon all the topics ranging from patriarchy to gender discrimination through one character after another. Initially, it does connect but after a point of time, it becomes like ticking a check box no matter how effectively it is portrayed. But even then, there are some scenes like Rocky going lingerie shopping with Rani's mother and Rani enjoying singing with Rocky's mother and sister that are so well performed that they just take the cake even if they aren't subtly portrayed.
Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt
This is the kind of Karan Johar film that Alia Bhatt deserved to be in after she was his debutant a decade ago with Student of the Year. Bhatt become Johar's heroine and while she might have the one KJo fetish for Yash Chopra style song fulfilled, the rest of the film is just what she deserved. She manages to perform as well as you expect a fine actor like her to do so - with grace, fun, emotion and panache.
But boy oh boy! RRKPK is undoubtedly and unquestionably a RANVEER SINGH show! The actor is absolutely spot on with each and every intended joke, emotion, line and literally everything. It is as perfect as a casting call can get where you literally see Rocky being Ranveer Singh in a way at so many instances. Singh is the beating heart of the film and just has everyone get another recall about the sheer versatility he possesses. Also, you thought Dhindora Baje Re is good fun, you are in for an absolute treat for something that happens before that song! Trust me!
The Ensemble Cast with Legends
Johar has mixed up an ensemble cast which has him being in his comfort zone and also being out of it. Working with legends is where he excels usually but here, he does so with the new flock of actors too. Each and every actor - Anjali Anand, Aamir Bashir, Kshitee Jog, Tota Roy Chowdhury and Churni Ganguly are absolutely fantastic with their performances. And then you have the legends - Dharmendra, Shabana Azmi and Jaya Bachchan - Johar perfectly understands the limitations that age has brought to these icons but still extracts fine acts. Especially Azmi, who is so affable and delicate as Jamini and Bachchan is basically playing a version of her real-life husband, Amitabh Bachchan's character Yash Raichand from K3G but is great and well. keh diya na! bas keh diya
There cannot be a more refined way to put this but RRKPK should not be missed. It is celebrating movies, celebrating love, celebrating family while also being woke in your own sense. Make sure to take your family out for a rare film outing and also make sure to go in a theatre where people won't be hesitant to whistle and hoot - because that just adds to the fine experience that this film is.
Rating - **** (4/5)ALSO READ: Nayanthara in talks to join Sanjay Leela Bhansali's epic 'Baiju Bawra' alongside Ranveer and Alia