Rock On II has all the elements of drama – three old friends getting together after years, a young girl, lots of angst among all the protagonists, leading man carrying a whole village on his able shoulders, a traditional strict father and even a villain thrown in for obstructing our hero. However it fails to neatly mix them together and create a story that a viewer can connect to. Instead, the film is a series of contrived situations created to let the leading man show his heroism.
To begin with, all the three friends are doing pretty well in their lives, yet they are perpetually angry. Tempers are raised for merely stating that the group is not making music anymore. Everybody is super touchy about what they are doing. Back in the days of Amitabh Bachchan’s Deewar or even later Nana Patekar’s Ankush, the frustrations were apparent or easily felt for, here the angst is all existential. For the great majority, where meeting the EMI or school fee is the next worry, watching three men in their forties talk endlessly about getting back to the rock scene may not cut it. And boy, do these people talk! Cinema is a visual medium but in this film the debate goes on endlessly. Why one should or should not blame oneself for a suicide, if judging TV shows is “below” making music, making any kind of music other than a band is kind of selling out and so forth.
Rock On 2 picks up eight years after the first installment left off. The band Magik has disbanded and the three friends Adi (Farhan Akhtar), Joe (Arjun Rampal) and KD (Purab Kohli) have gone their separate ways, yet they miss their band. Adi is highly disturbed, as a cross cut of a man hanging himself suggests. To fight his disturbed state, he has moved to Meghalaya where he adopts a village, helps the farmers and teaches the children. Joe is a successful reality show judge on TV while KD makes music for corporates. KD persuades them to get together for a gig when he finds a talented Jiah (Shraddha Kapoor). Jiah, however, is facing her own demons and the first show fails.
Destiny brings them together again and they finally have a huge concert in Shillong. But before this can happen, there is a parallel track of a village needing Adi so much so that he leaves his wife Sakshi (Prachi Desai) alone and works for the people who are just waiting for him for their salvation. Where random characters pop up begging Adi to not leave them because he is their saviour. And there’s lots of crying. Not to forget the villain who creates major obstacles to not let the concert take place at all.
Of the actors, Arjun Rampal and Shraddha Kapoor have done a good job. Farhan’s voice grates on the ears a bit. The best part about the film is the locales of Meghalaya and the beautiful way Marc Koninckx has filmed them. Kudos to the makers in bringing north-east to mainstream Hindi films. It is said the writers took eight years to write the sequel. I am still wondering what they were smoking to come up with this after eight years of rumination. Rock On II is not a patch on the first part.
Rating : 2/5
Starring: Shraddha Kapoor, Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal, Purab Kohli, Shashank Arora,Prachi Desai, Kumud Mishra
Director: Shujaat Saudagar