Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal, Shraddha Kapoor, Prachi Desai, Purab Kohli, Shashank Arora, Shahana Goswami
Sunil A Lulla, Farhan Akhtar, Ritesh Sidhwani
So the long awaited sequel to the musical drama of 2008 — Rock On!!, which instantly had found an irreplaceable place in our hearts, is finally here. But does it recapture the charm of its original? Unfortunately, not completely! What made the prequel special was its connect with the youth — it was a perfect heady mix of good songs, great lyrics, dreams, drama, friendship, passion with a ‘soul’ at the center of it all. In Rock On!! 2 that very soul seems to be missing and you fail to relate to any of the newly evolved characters, who you had fallen in love with eight years ago.
We begin with glimpses of the band Magik performing at the final concert, which we saw in the first installment, with KD (Purab Kohli)’s voiceover taking us through the lives of his buddies and band members — Adi (Farhan Akhtar) and Joe (Arjun Rampal) in the present times. So Joe is now a hot-shot music bar owner, who also is a judge on a popular singing reality show. Kedar aka Killer drums (KD) is composing music while the star guitarist and vocalist of their band, Adi, has abandoned everything and is living like a hermit in the scenic Meghalaya.
Something has happened; someone has died and this has scattered the members of the popular band — Magik. The slow-paced narratives just don’t reveal the dramatic incident yet. After all, it’s their trump card in this otherwise lacklustre plot. We only get to see this brilliantly shot distorted scene of someone who has hanged himself in the beginning of the film (It’s one of the best-captured scenes in the film). Adi considers himself guilty and is carrying the baggage of that person’s death.
However, the writers of the film, in this case Pubali and the director of the previous Rock On!! – Abhishek Kapoor have perhaps forgotten that this card has been played several times in the past and is so predictable that it doesn’t have the desired ‘OMG’ effect when it is finally thrown on the table.
In between the woven plot revolving around Magik and its members, we have Jiah (Shraddha Kapoor), a young talented musician who is afraid to spread her wings and pursue her dreams because of her father (Kumud Mishra) who is a classical musician, who doesn’t approve of the modern day music scenario. How Jiah finds her voice, what actually had happened in the past and how the band once again comes together to perform, form the crux of Rock On!! 2.
While debutant director Shujaat does make a sincere attempt at bringing the affable characters of Rock On!! back to life, the poorly written screenplay doesn’t help these characters to come into their own and every character seems a little restrained. I would like to point out that this was no doubt a terrific cast; we all have seen them shine in the previous one but sometimes even the best actors struggle if their character sketch is not written well.
Despite this, the performance by the lead cast is still the highlight of the film. Farhan Akhtar as an emotionally shaken Adi gives a decent performance. He portrays the angst of his character well and his breakdown scene in the valley is the best. However, his so-called deeper connect with Jiah doesn’t come across and their equation in the film appears awkward. Arjun Rampal’s character, which got him a National Award in the previous one, gets nothing significant to do here. Purab Kohli is as charming as he was in the first one and plays his part pretty well. Shraddha Kapoor is not only looking pretty but also surprises us with her portrayal of the reclusive Jiah. Prachi Desai has a small role but plays her part well, and so does Shashank Arora.
Music of Rock On!! 2 too doesn’t really have a similar impact as the previous one, barring the fantastic khasi song 'Hoi Kiw' sung by the Meghalaya band Summersalt featuring Usha Uthup towards the climax of the film. This one indeed is a treat and worth every dime you spent.
The cinematography is superb and wonderfully captures the less explored beauty of the northeast state of India – Meghalaya.
On the whole, this musical drama does have its moments but in totality, it fails to weave its original magik on us.