By Rohit Vats, Hindustan Times
Eight years after Rock On went on to win hearts and awards, its sequel, Rock On 2, which is a far better film than what its trailers suggest, could follow suit.
Rock On ended with Rob’s (Luke Kenny) death and the reuniting of the all-boy band Magik. Things have changed since then. Aditya Shroff (Farhan Akhtar) is again delusional. He has left music and does cooperative farming somewhere in the Northeast.
Joe (Arjun Rampal) is a reality show judge and a club owner. He appears to be the most successful of the lot.
KD (Purab Kohli) thinks the band should come together again to infuse some purpose in their lives, but that doesn’t seem possible.
Life’s harsh realities are squeezing them into a corner. Making music is the only skill they have, but they aren’t able to create anything new. It’s a perfect juncture to introduce new characters who can carry forward the legacy of Magik.
Shraddha and Farhan in a still from Rock On 2.
And here come Jiah (Shraddha Kapoor) and Uday (Shashank Arora), promising but untapped talents.
Shujaat Saudagar, the director, keeps connecting the threads without delving much into the past. Characters keep referring to their older days without getting into a flashback. This evades a direct comparison between Saudagar and Abhishek Kapoor, who had directed the original. Even when there is a flashback, it’s a song.
The prime focus is on creating an environment where the characters can introspect. Jiah is mostly seen in dimly lit rooms and Aditya keeps struggling in the dark. They meet, light candles, sing and look cheerful, only to return to an atmosphere of uncertainty.
The side stories work and where there is nothing to supplement the character, the actor rises. After Titli and Brahman Naman, Shashank Arora shines again. Arjun Rampal’s top form and Farhan Akhtar’s understanding of the narrative add a lot to this musical.
The use of the Northeastern milieu pays back towards the end when the emotions explode out of the claustrophobic spaces. The expressions on Arjun Rampal’s face during the finale say it all as he transforms into a guitar wizard.
Like Rock On, this one is also about the male bonding, on and off the stage. Shraddha Kapoor’s presence adds a different dimension to it.
Rock On 2 might not have a strong conflict in the storyline, but it definitely works as the narrative of a unique camaraderie among the boys.
They have grown older, but haven’t lost their charm.