Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani

wogma rating: Watch but no rush (?)

quick review:


So loud! But hey, the lead women have proper jobs.

So much gyaan. But necessary too?

So many missteps. But woke too.

So predictable. But some unexpected decisions too.

So little physical chemistry between the lead pair. But they ace the non-physical one.

So so long. No buts after that, it is long.

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Director: Karan Johar
Running time: 165 minutes
More Movie Info

25+ years since DDLJ and Hindi films are still trying different means to convince the disapproving families while staying loud, exaggerated, over-simplified, and slightly entertaining. Therefore, maintaining all that is unlikable about such films. But Rocky aur Rani kii Prem Kahaani tries a novel approach. That cannot be denied. A progressive one, at that. It even gives women proper jobs that they are passionate about. Yes, I am happy with that start. Yes, the bar is that low.

As creative as the film’s take is to familial disapproval of a youngster’s choice of spouse, it is a superfluous one too

So, Dhanalaxmi (Jaya Bachchan) is a matriarch whose will is made the family’s way. She’s fearfully stern and appropriately dislikable. But Dhanalaxmi knows what she wants, grabs the chance when she gets it, and boy, does she not let it go! Unpredictably, the story revolves around her, and I absolutely loved the way her transition is done and the climax her arc gets. It is unreal how such a real thing crept into the script.

While Jaya Bachchan lets Dhanalaxmi become hateful and deservedly hated by the audience, she reminded me of Amitabh Bachchan’s characters from Mohabbatein and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham instead of reminding me more of Dina Pathak from Khoobsurat (1980). Yet, it is nice to see her hold her own over-shadowing Shabana Azmi and Dharmendra’s presence.

In fact, the two don’t quite look natural together. It is cute, only because they are old and are doing sweet couple things. But then again, Ranveer Singh and Aliaa Bhatt don’t have the coupl-y energy either. They are as awkward as the senior citizens in the scenes that require intimacy. Their chemistry in the non-physical or banter scenes—specifically those that do not require them to be physical with each other—shows how comfortable they are with each other. Yes, the bestie vibe shines through. I guess it is difficult to unsee their camaraderie once you have seen them as real-life friends in a Karan Johar environment.

Speaking of which, I am sure it is irresistible…the temptation to make an Aliaa-doesn’t-know-the-president’s-name reference in a Karan Johar film. And any day, I’d take self-deprecating humour over slapstick. I quite enjoyed the randomly spread political jibes too. And I actually laughed out loud at a couple of jokes.

While the writing is not sparkling, it has a few sparks. The underlying theme of ‘othering’—be it based on class, community, intellectualism, health, or profession—and how we have made a sport out of humiliating the ‘other’ has its high moments. Some of this is done the old-fashioned way, like reading aloud a WhatsApp lecture on Women’s Day. But some of it is slid in. Cheeky but enjoyable.

Just like colour, especially those of Aliaa Bhatt and Ranveer Singh’s costumes, is used to display their personality at first. And then in a dream sequence the colour of the clothes is used to show their influence on each other . I am yet to decide if it’s good or bad that I was looking forward to Bhatt’s next sari change, one more gorgeous than the other, especially in the film's first half.

It is unreal how such a real thing crept into the script.

The film’s real story begins in the second half. Until then is the set-up, which is why the film feels unnecessarily long. It’s not like you get bored while watching it. There is enough glamour, colour, and clamour to keep your senses engaged, even if it is to annoy you. Though the music from the 50s and 60s entertains you in the first half, it all disappears in the second half, I assume making way for the modern love story. Unfortunately, none of the original music is the foot-tapping memorable kind that we are used to from a Karan Johar production. And by the end of it all, you feel like you have been on that seat for a bit too long.

As creative as the film’s take is to familial disapproval of a youngster’s choice of spouse, it is a superfluous one too. It is neat that they do not offer a magic wand solution, nor do they have characters switch personalities in one swift scene with a few smooth lines. It indicates that the makers have grown in the last few decades to know that fairy-tale-like solutions won’t work. At the same time, they know as much as we do, that they are not here to bring a fool-proof solution. A potential option, a potential playout of the potential option. And a little entertainment on the side.

- meeta, a part of the audience

26 reviewers(?) - 18 yays 5 so-so 3 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...Most of all, I loved the fresh and fantastic cast, especially Tota Roy Chowdhury, Churni Ganguly, and Kshitee Jog. Nobody is perfect in Rocky Aur Rani, and that is exactly what makes this exuberant film feel so heartfelt and human.... full review

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...Ranveer’s Rocky is a masterclass in exuberant acting without heaving into the hemisphere of hamming. As for Alia, every time she has us wondering what she would do next. Every time she takes us by surprise. Among the supporting cast, Shabana Azmi as the grandmother who loved and lost, allows her silence to shriek her protest.... full review

Thumbs up, by Urmimala Banerjee, Bollywood Life : ...Karan Johar is back with a bang. Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani is ace Bollywood style filmmaking. Ranveer Singh has proved why is one of the finest. Alia Bhatt has one more stellar act and potential blockbuster under her belt. Kudos to the entire team!... full review

Thumbs up, by Abhimannyu Mathur, DNA : ...Karan Johar has made better stuff. He still can make better films. But despite not being his best, Rocky Aur Rani is the most entertaining and engaging mainstream story to emerge from Bollywood in months, probably years. These are the kind of films that the audience have been asking for. It’s time someone delivers. Oh, and PS- Karan, please don’t take seven more years for the next one. You’re good at this!... full review

Thumbs up, by Anupama Chopra, Film Companion : ...Rocky aur Rani kii Prem Kahani is very much its own movie.  It’s delicious eye-candy with a rebellious core.  Despite the flabby portions, I exited with a smile, wishing that Rocky was real and wanting to give my family a jhappi.  There can be no downside to that.... full review

Thumbs up, by RAHUL DESAI, Film Companion : ...After all, transformation is the cornerstone of every unlikely love story.... full review

Thumbs up, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...Karan Johar shouldn’t take too long a sabbatical between directing films and should start filming his next pronto. Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani is a complete entertainer, having something for everybody. Watch it for its funny as hell storyline and some cracking performances from the entire ensemble cast.... full review

Thumbs up, by Abhishek Ranjit, Filmi Beat : ...Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani deserves your watch if you are a true blue Hindi cinema fan. It has all the required masalas including dance, romance, drama, and emotions that are considered essential for a masala flick.... full review

Thumbs up, by Rohit Bhatnagar, Free Press Journal : ...A film that surprises in the second half and makes average music loveable much after you walk out.... full review

Thumbs up, by Nitin Jain, : ...The music of the film is composed by Pritam and lyrics are written by Amitabh Bhattacharya. Arijit Singh and Sherya Ghoshal, Jonita Gandhi and Bhumi Trivedi lend their chiselled voices to full-toned beats that the youth love today. Having said so, what the audience seem to enjoy the most are some of the most popular Hindi film songs from the era gone by.... full review

Thumbs up, by Tushar Joshi, india today : ...The second half does slow down towards the end and KJo feels a bit caught up in the trope of having too much on his platter. Nevertheless, 'Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani' is a family entertainer that is a gentle reminder of Karan’s legacy and his love for blockbuster cinema. Go watch it at a theatre near you. Or in Jaya ji’s words - bas keh diya so keh diya!... full review

Thumbs up, by Aseem Sharma, India TV : ...anveer Singh and Alia Bhatt in Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani are not just you want to see in the film. The film will also impress and connect you with the other important characters including Jaya Bachchan (Rocky's grandmother), Shabana Azmi (Rani's grandmother) Dharmendra (Rocky's grandfather), Tota Roy Chowdhury and Churni Ganguly as Rani's father and mother. The film is full of fun, drama, comedy and to keep it short it is a complete entertainer. There is something for everybody. There are high chances that many shows of its first weekend get housefull with big rush on the ticket counter.... full review

Thumbs up, by Lekha Menon, Khaleej Times : ...a... full review

Thumbs up, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...Either way, there’s something so unapologetic, unabashedly unsubtle about it all that it keeps you engaged in the hall, throughout—while the laughs land, and loud dialogues get the applause.... full review

Thumbs up, Movie Talkies : ...You know Karan Johar’s cinema, and you get it here in true style, but the way he transforms his blockbuster rom-com and entertaining family drama into a progressive and meaningful film at the same time is what makes RRKPK special. That’s what Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani is. What we need today is entertainment with content and a message, and Karan Johar gives you both. Book your tickets now.... full review

Thumbs up, by Titas Chowdhury, : ...All in all, Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani is a joyful and nostalgic ride. It might not be Karan’s best work but it comes across as a gush of fresh wind. The filmmaker, once again, proves that there’s no one quite like him and when it comes to family sagas, he’s the undisputed king. It’s time to start a petition for the official coinage of ‘the Karan Johar genre of cinema’."... full review

Thumbs up, by Divya Raj Bhonsale, NewsBytes : ...Johar delivered a film that truly defines his styles of cinema- romance, drama, family values, humor, and larger-than-life houses (he brought Pataudi Palace to Karol Bagh). He also cleverly gave glimpses of his previous films through some dialogues, here and there (Bachchan's "Keh diya na, bas keh diya" is my favorite!)... full review

Thumbs up, by, Times of India : ...At heart, Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani is an entertaining and sweet love story, with flashy and feisty characters given to us in a well-wrapped shiny package. And yet, it's all about loving your family.... full review

So-So, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks : ...Overall Rocky Aur Rani mii Prem Kahani might not be a bad film for those who do not mind watching the same old stuff, presented in the same old manner with some deliberately added stuffing, making it appear as something grand and colourful worth trying. For the fan of stars, their rejection is also out of question as in the present world, anything and everything gets accepted and defended by the enthusiastic fans.... full review

So-So, Deccan Chronicle : ...With Jaya and Shabana in the cast, you expect a ’Silsila’ clash, there isn’t any. However, the moment when the Jaya-Shabana battles show the victor and the vanquished quickly changing places, you realise that it is subtle and Karan Johar may well have missed a trick or two. Or he was missing a script writer like Javed Akhtar.... full review

So-So, by Prathyush Parasuraman, Film Companion : ...One question lurks uneasily, which Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar unsatisfyingly but clearly articulated. Where will the couple stay after marriage? This was the central issue that spurred the film’s thudding second half. But in the larger context, this is not important. The film isn’t interested in making a statement as much as it is in how it is making that statement.... full review

So-So, by Himesh Mankad, Pinkvilla : ...Karan Johar treats Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani as an entertainer that is sure to find its audience in the metros. It could have gone in the negative zone but is a result of the director’s conviction to make some of the most outlandish sequences land in the right way, especially for his audience. While some of the humor doesn’t land well, and trimming is needed in both halves, it’s Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt who lead the film to be a decent family entertainer. Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani is a teamwork of Karan's conviction followed to the T by Ranveer and Alia in their performances that should win appreciation in the urban audience and lead to a successful venture.... full review

So-So, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...As far as prem kahanis go, I am still rooting for Team Rahul and Anjali, but if we are talking subversion, Rocky and Rani's fully filmi revolution could truly be a start of 'soch nayi' if 'swad wahi.'... full review

Thumbs down, by Monika Rawal Kukreja, Hindustan Times : ...What stood out in RARKPK has to be its music. While Jhumka and Dhindhora Baje Re are full-on party tracks, Tum Kya Mile and Ve Kamleya are soultouching. The film also pays an homage to classics by Mohd Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhonsle and Lata Mangeshkar and that ode to the old world charm of Bollywood music is what I truly enjoyed. Oh, and there's also Baba Sehgal's famous track,... full review

Thumbs down, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...On one side is Randhawa Paradise, a sprawling mansion somewhere in National Capital Region. On the other is Chatterjee House, a no less impressive bungalow in (as we are tangentially told) in South Delhi. The two families that reside in these buildings are so different from each other that they could be from different planets.... full review

Thumbs down, by Nandini Ramnath, : ...Apart from the leads, there are noteworthy turns by Aamir Bashir as Rocky’s stern father and Kshitee Jog as Rocky’s long-suffering mother. Dharmendra, one of Indian cinema’s most handsome actors, is a worrying shell of himself. Jaya Bachchan, playing the female counterpart of Amitabh Bachchan’s unyielding pater familias in Mohabbatein (2000) and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, carries on with such severity that you worry about her too.... full review

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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None.
  • Language: Some abusive language in passing.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: A few lip-to-lips.
  • Concept: A couple that is in love tries their hand at getting familial approval.
  • General Look and Feel: Bright, loud, alive.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Comments (2)

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Dear Meetu, your review checks all the right boxes, and makes a wholesome read. Complete..! Enjoyed reading it.

Thank you.

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