Rock On 2
Director: Shujaat Saudagar
Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal, Purab Kohli, Shraddha Kapoor and others
Rating: * * *
The 2008 film Rock On, directed by Abhishek Kapoor (also co-writer) had something to say and said it with flair. The review back then said, “Almost every urban, English-speaking, middle to upper middle class person will identity with Rock On completely, at least those who have turned into corporate stuffed shirts, and do the ‘air guitar’ in a bar, when they are too drunk to care about keeping up appearances. The rock band in Abhishek Kapoor’s film is just a metaphor for lives and dreams sacrificed for winning the rat race. The four young men who form the band and almost make it big, could be anyone who had non-conformist ambitions he or she could not fulfill.”
Rock On 2, directed by Shujaat Saudagar, sacrifices the relatable emotions of the first film and lays on the phony angst really thick. Five years after their band, Magik, broke up, there’s a guilt-ridden Adi (Farhan Akhtar) playing the do-gooder in a Meghalaya village. Joe (Arjun Rampal) is a club owner and reality show judge, KD (Purab Kohli) is selling his soul doing ad jingles. The collective self-flagellation is for the death of a music aspirant, who was treated with indifference by the group.
After a fire in the village, when Adi is in a state of shock, he runs into Jiah (Shraddha Kapoor), who is a singer, reluctant to perform live. The film tries to tackle too many issues, relationships breaking up, a classical singer father sneering at modern music his children prefer, the soul crushing demands of the public from popular singers, the problems of the North East and the business of making music for a cause (which sounds ridiculous when they say music banate hain or band ke saath khelte hain).
The people of the Meghalaya village that Adi adopts, seem like lifeless puppets just waiting for the messiah to appear to solve their problems. The concert at the end is a joy to watch, though the music in this film is no patch on Shankar-Ehsan-Loy’s work in the original.
It may have seemed like a good idea to revisit the likeable and somewhat complex characters from Rock On, but the sequel is a let down, because they are no longer all that appealing.