I recently had the opportunity to watch "Rocky and Rani Ki Prem Kahani" and thoroughly enjoyed the constant entertainment it offered. After a long time, Karan Johar has tried to rejuvenate the classic Bollywood vibes through Alia Bhatt's beautiful saris and the grandiosity of the film's expansive sets. Nevertheless, it departs from the usual Karan Johar style seen in films like "Kal Ho Na Ho" or "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham." While delivering a quintessential Bollywood experience, this time it introduces an element of preachiness.
While watching, I felt that a significant portion of the film is inundated with relentless preaching, ranging from critiquing patriarchy and condemning misogyny to overtly emphasizing feminism. While the 'talent transcends gender boundaries' concept seemed appealing initially, its extended application became a lot more problematic, especially when conveyed in poor taste by ridiculing a traditional dance form like Kathak. Scenes like Rocky telling Rani's father, 'Inko Madhuri chadh gayi hai,' and Rani's mother involving Rocky in 'bra-shopping' and also then giving him a lecture on respecting women lacked context and seemed out of place. The film further ventured into a debate on racism, incorporating a mix of elements like Rocky avoiding tea due to its impact on complexion, which the Bengali household deems extremely racist.
On the other hand, I felt the movie was progressing at a very rapid pace. The plot didn't focus on the character arcs of Alia Bhat and Ranveer and their love story. Alia Bhatt in the movie throughout is seen as a veritable feminist dialogue textbook, and while supporting gender equality is important, the abundance of social messages in a film marketed as a family entertainer seems to diminish its essence.
Though I understand that Karan Johar aimed to address crucial topics such as fat-shaming, racism, forced marriages, cancel culture, misogyny, and gender stereotypes, the film attempted to tackle all of these simultaneously. At times, it seemed as though certain scenes were included merely to convey a message to the audience about a specific issue, even if they lacked context. Consequently, the movie fell short of fully exploring each theme, making the execution of these complex topics feel somewhat half-hearted. This approach left untapped potential, as the film struggled to delve deeply into the intricacies of each issue and establish a more comprehensive narrative around them.
The persistent urge for movies to address crucial topics like culture in RRKPK is significant. However, it's crucial to approach this in a manner where the audience not only enjoys themselves but also takes away something meaningful. Listeners need to grasp and internalize important dialogues, allowing their emotions to process the content. Personally, "Rocky aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani '' was overwhelming for me because, amid the laughter, I found it challenging to comprehend the exact messages being conveyed. While these issues were personally relevant, I struggled to establish a full emotional connection with any of them. I felt that entering so many of these territories and attempting to convey a multitude of messages while confined within the sphere of love, romance, and family drama somewhat diluted the genuine authenticity of the film.