Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal, Purab Kohli, Shraddha Kapoor, Shashank Arora, Kumud Mishra
Direction: Shujaat Saudagar
I loved ‘Rock On’ (2008) – it was a simple, unpretentious story about friends who have a fallout and how music plays an integral part music in bringing them back together.
‘Rock On 2’ does not recreate the fluidity of its prequel.
Shujaat Saudagar’s film is mature – this band of boys does not shy away from stylishly brandishing their greys! This is a complex story where our protagonist, Aditya Shroff (Farhan Akhtar) seeks redemption far away from the bustle and comfort of the city: he works with farmers in Meghalaya. By making a difference to a small village in India’s North East, he hopes to find some measure of atonement for his guilt.
But in his attempt to address the guilt, and the redemption that Adi seeks, the story becomes complex and a bit contrived at times. The plot proceeds sluggishly, spending too much time on granular details, distancing the viewer. To make matters worse, none of the songs have recall value; it is still the original ‘Rock On’ title track that remains the franchise’s most foot-tapping number.
To give credit where it’s due, every member of the cast turns out solid portrayals. Farhan is remarkable as the conflicted protagonist. He rings true when we think of his character as someone always looking to escape difficult situations. Whether it’s severing all social contact in the first part or seeking asylum in the hills in the sequel, the protagonist – despite all the niceness about him – still comes across as an escapist.
Purab Kohli is effortless. And even Arjun Rampal impresses as the ageing lead guitarist: his usually deadpan expressions are replaced with a latent earnestness. Shraddha Kapoor doesn’t quite open up a new dimension in the script, but she’s undoubtedly easy on the eyes, although none of her songs really strike a chord.
‘Rock On’ showcases some good performances, but it doesn’t recreate the youthful simplicity of the first part. And, most vitally, where is all the ‘rock’?