July 29, 2023
Rocky Randhawa (Ranveer Singh) wants the audience to know a few things. His grandmother, Dhanlakshmi (Jaya Bhaduri), heads the household, and her ladoo recipe has catapulted Dhanlakshmi Sweets to its status as a publicly traded company. The family lives in a mansion in Delhi, Randhawa Paradise, that looks more like the U.S. Capitol and less like a home. Except there’s trouble in paradise: Rocky’s grandfather, Kanwal (Dharmendra), keeps getting episodes, calling for a mysterious woman named Jamini. The doctor treating Kanwal tells the family: find Jamini and you’ll help your grandfather.
And so begins director Karan Johar’s first Hindi feature film in seven years since Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016). Known for his ever-increasing budgets, lavish sets, superstar casts, and progressive messaging in family-friendly fun, Johar has long been a diaspora favorite. From Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), his directorial debut, to Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006), audiences associate him with a certain brand and flair.
But a lot has changed since 2016: the world has gone through a pandemic and Bollywood seems to have fallen out of love with romances. Yet the film, though full of stereotypes, isn’t what you think it’s about. Rather, audiences will walk away believing that romance — and not the one between Rocky and Rani — is still alive and well.