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‘RRKPK’: Typical Bollywood entertainer stuck in old cliches | The Express Tribune


Karan Johar made his fans wait seven long years to reunite with the grandeur of stereotypical old-school Bollywood formula film. Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani, starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, is already winning hearts but the main question is whether Bollywood has evolved in its grandeur. Several Indian outlets have reviewed the film; while all laud its melodramatic appeal, they have a lot to say about its flaws too.

The Indian Express, while praising the film to be a “typical Bollywood potboiler,” also called it out for its lack of originality and abundance of cliches. “Karan Johar has always worked with the adage that describes a typical Bollywood potboiler– ‘iss film mein emotion hai, colour hai, aur bahut saara loud background music hai’– but in his better outings, he has managed to fuse those elements in his own individual stamp – an unapologetic cheesy aesthetic which goes hand-in-hand with moments of real heart, designed to make us melt,” a review read.

The publication reported that the family drama film apparently lacked the recognisable Johar element. “In Rocky and Rani, Johar is seen too rarely. Do you want big sets? Here, take ginormous. You want shine? Naach-gaana? Pretty funerals? Overdressed mansions? It’s all there. And you want originality? That’s asking for too much,” it read.

The Indian Express highlighted the exaggeration of the film. “Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani has no place for nuance, or subtlety; it’s the kind of film where every note is hammered in,” they wrote. Moreover, all publications reviewing the film, and social media users expressed that the film could’ve “easily be shortened by 20 mins or more.”

Hindustan Times, too, praised the film for living up to the nostalgic Bollywood fashion. “Rich families, over-the-top settings, family values, emotions, love, heartbreak topped with flashy costumes and beautifully choreographed dance numbers… Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani (RARKPK) is your typical, if not ideal, masala film,” it read.

However, the outlet noted that the film had its fair share of shortcomings. “It does bring back the grandeur of Karan Johar cinema that we missed for long, but not without its fair share of flaws. RARKPK is the stereotypical portrayal of Punjabis as loud and uncivil people and Bengalis are overly educated and supremely intellectual,” they wrote. “Come on, it’s such a killjoy to see Bollywood being stuck in these cliches. No women in Punjabi households cover their heads with dupattas. And what’s with the unapologetic objectification of the film’s hero when for the longest time the audience called out Bollywood films for sexualising its female characters?”

While the storyline can have flaws, the acting did not. Ranveer as Rocky and Alia as Rani have “owned” the film and “is a great distraction from its flaws,” as per ETimes.

PinkVilla called Ranveer a “firecracker” and wrote, “He’s living the character, that’s very close to his real self. It’s a loud and over-the-top character that could have completely misfired, but it’s his aura that ensures a safe landing.”

The publication also ranked Alia as the “perfect” match to give him company. “Alia Bhatt is the soul of Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani – from the first frame to the last, her screen presence makes up for all the flaws. She gets to display a wide range of emotions – from being fearless to emotional and comical – and she aces the role with flying colours. It’s actually the performances of the two leads that lift the film even in the dull moments,” they added.

However, Hindustan Times, Indian Express, Film Companion and ETimes noted that the couple, however great in their individual characters, lacked the dreamy Bollywood chemistry.

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