Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani movie review (2023)
In this vibrant Bollywood extravaganza, a star-studded cast featuring Varun Dhawan, Sara Ali Khan, Janhvi Kapoor, Ananya Pandey, and Ranveer Singh sets the stage for a delightful family drama with a deeper message. Directed by Karan Johar, the film seamlessly weaves in themes of patriarchy, gender bias, misogyny, body shaming, and cancel culture, all while maintaining its colorful and entertaining essence.
Ranveer Singh plays Rocky Randhawa, the charismatic heir to the successful Dhanlaxmi mithai empire. His mission is to trigger the lost memories of his amnesiac grandfather, Kanwal (played by Dharmendra), by reuniting him with his past love, Jamini Chatterjee (portrayed by Shabana Azmi), who is also Rani’s (Alia Bhatt) grandmother. As Rocky and Rani’s drastically different personalities clash, they fall in love through song, dance, and witty banter. The movie subtly addresses the judgmental nature of people when confronted with contrasting cultures and personalities, employing humor without becoming overly sentimental or preachy.
The film thrives as a musical extravaganza, featuring a medley of Bollywood classics beautifully woven into the old-world romance of Rocky and Rani. Clever self-references to iconic KJo movie lines and moments further delight fans. Ranveer Singh shines as the boisterous yet sensitive Punjabi man who is initially blind to gender equality due to societal conditioning. His impeccable comedic timing and character development add depth to the role. Alia Bhatt impresses as the strong-willed and confident Rani, although a more polished Bengali accent would have been a plus.
Jaya Bachchan delivers a powerful performance as the dominating matriarch, seamlessly transitioning from the docile wife in “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham” to this multi-dimensional character. Shabana Azmi excels in her role, skillfully alternating between Bengali and Hindi. Dharmendra’s delightful portrayal leaves a lasting impact, while Aamir Bashir’s performance as the misogynistic Tijori is equally commendable. Namit Das adds entertainment as Rani’s colleague, Soumen.
Pritam’s outstanding music, featuring hits like “What Jhumka?” and “Dhindhora Baja Re,” enhances the film’s lavish and visually stunning song sequences, including a surprise redux of “Dola Re Dola.” The cinematography by Manush Nandan amplifies the glam and shine in every scene, except for a few questionable choices in Rani’s television news anchor attire.
Though the story takes time to unfold in the first half, the second half makes up for it with a captivating and entertaining narrative. The resolution of family conflicts might seem predictable and straightforward, but it subtly showcases the changing winds of tradition, with Rocky’s parents seeking Rani’s hand in marriage instead of the other way around.
“Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani” ultimately presents a heartwarming and entertaining love story, packaged with flair and flamboyance, supported by a meaningful undertone that encourages introspection and positive change in society.
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