In Rock On! 2, set 10 years after the events seen in the original, there is a clear desperation. The movie is centred around a five-year-old suicide, which belongs in the whole narrative, but reluctantly. The characters pass intense looks at each other and raise their voice every once in a while. And when they do that, a very curious background score starts playing in the background. “This is an important moment. Please feel free to feel it,” the score seems to say. There are flashback sequences to add to the intrigue. Nevertheless, everything falls flat. The characters’ problems seem like a bubble of self-importance that refuses to burst.
In Rock On (2008), the questions in front of the characters were more fundamental, thus more convincing. They were young and vulnerable. Joe (Arjun Rampal) had to get out of poverty. Aditya Shroff (Farhan Akhtar), struggling from a severe case of existential crisis, had to make a huge decision in life. Their music band, Magik, was being reconstructed from the scratch. There was a dying friend. There were fine portrayals of relationships and essential human emotions. The drama unfolded by itself.
When we first see Aditya Shroff (Farhan Akhtar) in Rock On! 2, he is asleep in his wooden cottage in a picturesque mountain village. Suddenly, he wakes up with a jolt and screams a name. A bad dream – a hanging lifeless body of a man he used to know. Slowly, he walks out of the cottage. His eyes are melancholy, but his pace and body language scream, “Look how awesome I am with this six-pack body and all this facial hair!”
This made-up melodrama is what Rock On! 2 boils down to. Not music. Not a fascinating storyline. There are a few moments, genuinely poignant and warm, that are reminiscent of Rock On!. But at the end, all that lingers in the mind is the movie’s asinine plot-points and its fixation on sentimental moments.
Rock On! 2 proceeds through the voice-over of Kedar Zaveri (Purab Kohli) aka KD, the most rational and effervescent among the friends. He introduces the audience to the old members of Magik. Joe is now rich and famous. He is a judge on a TV reality show, and a working partner of a posh Mumbai club. Aditya aka Aadi, is leading a life away from the humdrum of the city, in a serene mountain village in Meghalaya. They meet once in a while, talk and sing. In a normal world, everything about their life might look absolutely fine.
But what is a Bollywood movie without a villain? Joe’s picture-perfect life isn’t how it should be. KD, despite all those jokes that he cracks, isn’t really at peace. Aadi’s life on the mountain isn’t as idyllic as it seems. Soon, an even worse emotional wreck, Jiah (Shraddha Kapoor), joins the gang.
The music scene depicted in the movie is laughably silly. Youngsters make music, record it in CDs and pass it on to clubs and music companies. No joke, these CDs actually change their destinies. Jiah gets a direct entry to Magik, one of the top-billing music bands in the country, through an average music piece that she composed and saved on a CD. She goofs up her very first performance and lets the band members down, yet she is forgiven and taken back immediately. In a country where there is no dearth of musicians, Jiah becomes an international singing sensation with little struggle. Similarly, another character is heart-broken because his father, a famous classical musician, said fusion music is not real music. He further loses all hopes in life when a famous singer, whom he had given a CD of his song to, ignores him.
The movie uses rural poverty as an emotional shorthand. The lead characters decide to let bygones be bygones and come together to organise a charity music show in the North East to help villagers reeling under poverty. There is a scene where Aadi and Jiah arrive in a relief camp where men, women, and children who lost their home and livelihood in a forest fire, are stationed. Upon seeing the urban duo, a villager shouts out, “Aadi is here!” in excitement, as if his wait for a saviour has finally come to a close. The camera zooms into the villagers’ starved and battered faces, and shifts to Jiah, looking like a model in a Fair And Lovely ad, offering food to hungry kids.
Rock On! 2 entertains, but its modus operandi is eerily similar to that of a TV reality show. The soundtrack of this supposedly musical-drama is of mediocre quality. And what thrusts above the surface is a pile of mawkish scenes that lack any genuineness.
The Rock On! 2 review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.