ROCK ON 2 – Movie Review

Story: Having retreated into a shell and turned his back on music, Aditya (Akhtar) is now a do-gooder who seeks to spread joy in a quiet corner of Northeast India. But there is little joy in his own life. While one track of Rock On 2 follows the band seeking to reunite in the face of Aditya Shroff’s cussed foot-dragging, the other focuses on Jiah’s (Shraddha) battle to break free and follow her heart.

It was as many as eight years ago that the motley Rock On!! band of boys, led by an enthusiastic first-time actor-singer Farhan Akhtar and orchestrated ably by director Abhishek Kapoor, arrived in our midst and struck an instant chord. What that film achieved may not have been earth-shattering. But it still remains surprisingly fresh in our minds. The world, of course, has moved on since. And so, as we learn from the sequel, have the members of the once-thriving rock band Magik.

Why, then, does Rock On 2 look and sound so last decade? The answer is pretty obvious: because it is last decade both in conception and execution.

Much of it centres on investment banker-turned-band front-man-turned-philanthropist Aditya Shroff (Farhan Akhtar), who, after a good run, is on a massive guilt trip triggered by a tragic mishap that he holds himself responsible for.

Notwithstanding the apparent hard work that director Shujaat Saudagar has put into repackaging the original tropes, Rock On 2 appears too bent upon sticking to the old ways to be consistently engaging, let alone exciting.

To put it simply, Rock On 2 is a middling attempt to revive the magic of the 2008 original. Not only is the music on offer here (by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) unable to hold a candle to the earlier score, the film, as a whole, rarely hits the right emotional notes.

Rock On!! was marked by spunk and spontaneity. Rock On 2 is unabashedly manipulative, constantly seeking to push the audience in contrived directions.

Although much broader in scope and ambition, the sequel is disappointingly bland. Neither the old band members nor the two new entrants, including the film’s young and determined female protagonist, lend much weight to the laboured drama.

Band newbie Shraddha Kapoor plays Jiah Sharma, a girl who faces severe opposition from her conservative classical musician father (an as-efficient-as-ever Kumud Mishra), as she fights to make it big as a rock singer.

The heaviest burden of the mouthful lyrics is borne by Shraddha Kapoor, who as a closet singer does an otherwise decent job of a girl tentatively exploring her talent and giving her vocal chords a try. In the so carefully careless look borne by the rest of the stars, particularly Akhtar, and at times Rampal, hers is a very interesting take of a girl experimenting with clothes and make-up, and struggling to decide on one. Kapoor or Jiya’s story is a father, a classical musician, who treats every music that doesn’t confirm to his purist tastes as blasphemy.