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. Marking Karan Johar's return to direction after seven years since Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, the excitement and expectations are palpable in the air. But, it all comes crashing down when the film takes too long to take you in, and eventually turns out to be a never-ending saga of romance and preachy lessons. 

Yes, it does bring back the grandeur of Karan Johar cinema that we missed for long, but not without its fair share of flaws. Amid several other things, what bothered me the most while watching RARKPK is the stereotypical portrayal of Punjabis as loud and uncivil people and Bengalis are overly educated and supremely intellectual lot. 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 have called out Bollywood films for sexualizing its female characters

The film begins with a smashing entry for Rocky Randhawa (Ranveer Singh) in his low neckline printed shirt and oily chest, with a over-the-top song set against the backdrop of Punjabi of the Year contest. Rani Chatterjee (Alia Bhatt), on the other hand, gets a much better written introduction scene where she is schooling a politician on rising rape cases. From the very beginning, we are told about the contrasting families that Randhawas and Chatterjees are. The story, pretty much given in the trailer, revolves around Rocky and Rani, whose love story begins when they are trying to reunite their respective grandparents Kanwal (Dharmendra) and Jamini (Shabana Azmi), who had an affair in 1978 that ended owing to their marital status. 

While the old-world romance is reviving, Rocky and Rani don't have it easy coming from different backgrounds. To convince their families, they decide to switch households for three months and live with each other's families only to realise things aren't as easy as they may seem. What follows next is a series of ups and down, hardships, insults, fights, self-realisations and regrets.

At 168 minutes, the film is unnecessarily stretched and it took me almost an hour to find my grip. The first half, especially, is such a drag that I literally struggled to sit through it while watching the initial few sequences. God knows what was happening there on screen. How did Rocky and Rani fall in love? I still don't know. It was so rushed that I almost went on a rewind mode to think if I missed anything. Alas! it actually is very abrupt. How come Rocky's grandmother, Dhanlakmi Randhawa (Jaya Bachchan) was okay with her husband meeting his ex-lover? We never get to know that either.