Rock On 2 Review: Not a 'Magikal' Sequel After All
The entire film- a sequel of Rock On- sadly focuses on too many things and music just keeps playing an extended cameo in the story line.
Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal, Shraddha Kapoor, Purab Kohli, Shashank Arora
Director: Shujaat Saudagar
Towards the middle of of second half of Rock On 2, Adi (Farhan Akhtar) gets up and addresses “We are Musicians. Let’s make music, guys.” A dialogue that should have ideally been put right at the beginning. Because the entire film- a sequel of Rock On- sadly focuses on too many things and music just keeps playing an extended cameo in the story line.
The film opens with the last scene of Rock On, where four members of Magik the band, sing Sindbad the sailor to a cheering crowd. Years have passed, and their music has taken them places now. Despite one member gone, (Luke Kenny appears in an unnecessary, unexplained flashback song) the three have maintained their friendship, opened a music label that aims to encourage young talent. One has become a reality show judge, one is a jingle composer and the third- has become a philanthropist of sorts. We are told he is trying to escape reality at the beginning of the film- an incident that has shaken up Magik makes Adi go to a remote village in Meghalaya and start a cooperative for farmers. Away from the bustle of the city, away from the comforts of his south Bombay plush pad. Yet when his wife, friends come to surprise him at his now home, one can see a very artistically designed cosy cottage that he inhabits alone- which hardly looks basic in any way.
Our man, Adi, the central character of the film, turns out to be an escapist, who practically throughout the film keeps running away from issues. After a forest fire that destroys his business and the school that he ran, his friends take him back to Mumbai to divert his mind and to make him move on. Because when you have a hamlet looking up to you for their development, you just leave them and move on. That’s the done thing, of course.
In Mumbai, Adi and co. happen to meet Jia and Uday, young talented musicians, whom they collaborate with for a gig. On the day of the performance, Jia develops cold feet and leaves them mid-way. Jia, a talented yet reluctant singer has issues at home to deal with- a disapproving father who belittles her music over his classical, purist style. Jia’s abrupt exit also make Magik realize that their past has come back to haunt them and while there is crisis in hand to deal with, Adi again heads back to Meghalaya because he suddenly realizes the people there need him- even though his wife(Prachi Desai), who by now is frustrated of waiting in the wings, threatens separation. Like I said, escapist.
Did someone wonder what about the music? That is addressed only here and there. They do have songs too- but most of them seem forced into the narrative just to remind viewers that its about a band and their journey in life. Unlike the first part, where songs resonated the feelings of a generation, of people wanting to pursue their dream- the songs in the sequel are not that memorable neither do they leave much impact. The only song that strikes a chord is Tere Mere Dil sung by Shraddha Kapoor which has a beautiful sarod piece in the middle.
The film has actors giving commendable performances but poor script lets most of them down. Shraddha Kapoor, as the reclusive Jia, haunted by a dark past, delivers her best. Purab Kohli maintains his friendly, happy character of KD. But Arjun Rampal’s Joe, in the prequel was a far better depiction of a talented musician based in Bandra who doesn’t want to sell his music for money. In the sequel Joe is a hotshot club owner, a reality show judge who may have gained popularity over the years, but seem to have lost the spark that made him stand out. Guess money transforms people. The most underused character is the one of Shashank Arora's, who plays a struggling musician wanting to make it big. There was so much potential in his and Jia’s track but makers only concentrate on Farhan Akhtar- making it a story of Adi- the escapist. While the focus remains on Akhtar, he dwindles ever so often in his performance.
There are too many flaws in the story. Adi’s son hasn’t aged in the past 8 years but Joe’s son is now a teenager. They barely show Shahana Goswami, who had delivered such a strong performance in the first film. They also never explain why Jia keeps going to Shillong to ‘record tribal music’.
Meghalaya is shown in all its glory. Some of the shots taken by cinematographer Marc Koninckx of the valley are stunning. But that alone can’t salvage the film. In the end the musical is dull and very predictable.
The sequel is clearly off-tune. You know what I mean?