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Karan Johar Scores A Full 10 In Rocky Aur Rani…



Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahani

Rating: *****

Wait!  Do  we see an upsurge in the number  of men joining Kathak  classes after  Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani?Among the many things that writers  Sumit Roy, Shashank  Khaitan and  Ishita  Moitra tells us  in this  kaleidoscopic view of  life on Malamaal Hill, is that it’s okay for  men to adopt  traditionally  female  roles.

And listen, if you  like  Kathak dancing  it doesn’t  mean you are effeminate  or gay. Tota Roy Chowdhury converts  the  boorish Punjabi  loutish epitome of  toxic masculinity Rocky,played with  lipsmacking relish by Ranveer Singh.  Before we  know it the two men are dancing together to Sanjay Bhansali’s Dola re dola re without the being the least conscious of the feminine expressions.Move  over Aishwarya,Madhuri…

Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani  is  a riot of informed entertainment. It has a  breathless pace, probably to  match  its leading man Ranveer Singh’s  energy level.  Although Alia Bhatt  playing his Significant  Other is equally electrifying. Together  Rocky  and Rani are as  dynamic as  fuel and fire.

From the moment they meet  the  screen is ignited by their combustive chemistry. Though poles apart in temperament  and cultural values,  we know  instinctively that Rocky and Rani are meant to be  together.  Don’t ask how. We just know.

But hang  on. This is  not only  about the love between Rocky  and Rani. It is also a charming chronicle of  the unfulfilled love between Jamini(a moving homage to  Shabana Azmi’s  silently  eloquent  act in  Mrinal Sen’s Khandhar) and Kanwal(Dharmendra).The  unfulfilled  love  in the past gets  a befitting closure in the present.

Karan Johar’s  direction  is  exuberant  , sometimes dizzyingly so,   when  it wants to be. He then  suddenly  reins-in the  riot of colours  and drama , as though to remind us that  the insulated  affluent lives that these  characters lead  also need to self-gaze once in  a while.

For  Ranveer Singh’s Rocky, the  party never stops. He is an unabashed patron of patriarchy. His  father(Aamir Bashir, excellent as ever) is  an unapologetic MCP  who  body-shames his daughter(Anjali Anand, cute)  and  simply shames his  wife(Kshitee Jog) .The wife wants to be  a singer and belts  out  Aap jaisa koi in the  kitchen when no one is  listening.

Among the many achievements of this very special film on under-achievers  is the  use of vintage music, from Abhi na jao chhod kar(as the signature tune for the Jamini-Kanwal love story)  to  Suno suno Miss  Chatterjee(from the film Baharen Phir Bhi Ayeng)i,used here by Ranveer to woo  Alia because….well she is  Rani Chatterjee.

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.

Jaya Bachchan plays the villain of the piece with  a commanding grimace. Her character Dhanalaxmi  reminds us that  the  toxicity  in  a  patriarchal  society often originates from a woman. It takes  another woman to remind us  of  this fact. As  for the  Bengali actors, they are  so busy being Bengali we  forget they are part of a film that  gives every characters  the freedom to be  what he or  she wants to.  Even a male Kathak dancer.

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