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Guys don’t be happy, do worry about this musical flurry which is about as tasteful as a saltless curry. Without exception, everyone in sight here is udergoing inner turmoil. They’re suffering from zilch self-esteem, an excess of superficial success  and a guilt complex, all of which may leave you quite vexed and perplexed at the multiplex for having spent your lately acquired money from the ATM. Or wherever.

Truly must rock stars – or even wannabe ones – just suffer like depressed duffers in our musical movies? Rock music, as far as I know, is soul liberating, exciting and free-spirited, prompting us to light a fire in our lives. In the Shujaat Saudagar Ali-directed Rock On 2, life’s hardly coming up gung-ho and roses. Tut tut.

Sorry to say but the sequel to the 2008 zapper helmed by Abhishek Kapoor, is like listening to a scratched vinyl LP record, with the needle stuck in a groove. Magik it certainly isn’t, even if some of the lead members of that once-upon-a-time groovy band are back on the scene to re-enact the let’s-bury-our-differences mates, hit the guitars and warble their lungs out to tracks composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. Oye, oye, doesn’t work, the music’s as weak as watered tea. Plus, Jaaaago…. goes one of the numbers, an unintentional wake-up call for those who may have zzzzzoned out in the audi.

The cast of Rock On 2.jpg

So watch only if you must survivor Purab Kohli from the original, striving to say something profound about life, as if he had been reading too much of Jean-Paul Sartre of late. His mates aren’t what they used to be, you see. Aditya Shroff (Farhan Akhtar), bedevilled by the memories of a young man’s weird suicide, has vamoosed to Shillong. And the erstwhile smokin’ Joe (Arjun Rampal whose brooding performance had earned him the Best Supporting Actor  National Award no less) has become uber posh. Whoa, our Joe owns a nightclub and is a judge at a TV reality show. Nice but uneasy lies the head that wears the crown of riches, doesn’t it?  Ho-hum.

Additions fill in the place of Luke Kenny who believe it or not, is sorely missed. Ditto Shahana Goswami who was quite a firecracker in the first-parter. For the female quotient, padhariye Jiah Sharma (Shraddha Kapoor) whose beshawled dad (Kumud Mishra) has a thing about classical music, thereby making it difficult for the dear, trembling-leaf of a daughter to hop on to the pop-rock-Bollywood muzak wagon.

A considerable part of the footage set in the north-east is the only USP in the follow-up, as it happens. Magik must cast its spell all over again, courtesy the belaboured script. It goes without saying, of course, that come what may the bandmates must assert that they will rock against all odds, and maybe leave the room open for the third edition of the franchise. Pssst, hope not because it seems to have already run out of locomotive breath.

As you might perceive, the storyline’s toothpick thin. Also you do wonder how Magik has retained its brand value after a hiatus of eight years. They aren’t exactly a legendary band whose quality of music, their break-ups and patch-ups would drive even loyalists into a state of euphoria. In the event, Rock on 2 comes off as a Bollywood vanity exercise, which assumed that an encore was in order. Honestly, some commercially successful as well as aesthetically accomplished films are left alone.

Shraddha Kapoor in a still from Rock On 2.jpg

Technically, the cinematography and sound design are sufficiently expert. It’s the music score which is the major let-down. As the sequel’s co-producer Farhan Akhtar is savvy, he does have an ear for music which is lamentably conspicuous by its absence here. Sad.

In the acting department, Akhtar does deliver a nuanced, implosive performance. Arjun Rampal hasn’t evolved at all. Sashank Ghosh is impressive in the supporting ensemble. As for Shraddha Kapoor, she has her searing moments but you’re not sure whether she should double-task as a playback singer. The role, incidentally, carries shades of her fragile crooner act in Aashiqui 2 which like it or not, was infinitely superior.

To carp that Rock On 2 lacks the freshness and funky drive of its prequel would amount to stating the obvious. Suffice it to say, the sequel isn’t exactly a feast for the ears and the mind, in that order.

Unsolicited tip: Re-re-see the old Rock On on DVD or wherever, and be happy.

Image Source: youtube/erosnow & twitter/ShraddhaKapoor
They say the best things in life are free! India’s favourite music channels 9XM, 9X Jalwa, 9X Jhakaas, 9X Tashan, 9XO are available Free-To-Air.  Make a request for these channels from your Cable, DTH or HITS operator.
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