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Shujaat Saudagar is not new to direction. He has been making ad films for 12 years now. He has earlier directed a short film Baali in 2004. Shujaat spoke to indianexpress.com about Rock On 2. Below are the excerpts from the interview:
How Rock On 2 is different from its prequel?
Rock On 2 is a mature story. There is a lot of intensity to the characters. Each and every character is fighting his own battle. Unlike Rock On where it was all about Magik band and its problems, this time problems go beyond each individual and their friendships. The film is a reflection of our times. The narrative and treatment of the story are very different.
Viewers are comparing Rock On 2 to Aashiqui 2 ( there are a lot of comments on Youtube regarding the same). How do you see that?
I don’t know where it’s coming from. But people should watch the film and then make any judgments.
Are Farhan Akhtar and Shraddha Kapoor’s characters in love in the film?
There is no love angle between Farhan Akhtar and Shraddha Kapoor’s characters. Rock On 2 is not about an extramarital affair. It’s a story of human bonds and is based on modern relationships. We have shown the political and economic scenario in the country today.
Why did you choose to shoot the film in the northeast?
Around two years ago, there were some reports of boys from Manipur getting attacked in Delhi. Farhan called me and said we need to do something about this. We have shown what sort of problems people from the northeast face. While we have stayed away from making any comment on politics, the film has depicted the problems faced by common people. Shillong was an obvious choice as people there are passionate about rock music. Viewers will get to see a great cinematography.
But we don’t see any actor from the northeast in the film?
You will see once the film releases.
Why do you think Rock On sequel took eights years?
Farhan and Ritesh Sidhwani were very clear that until they don’t have a story, they will not move forward. You will see the story moving forward here. We have picked the story from where left it in Rock On.
Unlike Rock On, most actors in the sequel are in their 40s. How did you manage to keep the film youthful?
Youthfulness has nothing to do with age. It’s about our thinking and what we feel about ourselves. Having said that, we have new actors on board including Shraddha and Shashank Arora. Both of them have done some fantastic work in the film.
Was Shraddha your first choice for the role?
No. We wanted somebody who can both sing and act. We came across some girls who could sing but not act. While others who could act but not sing. Shraddha auditioned for the role and we were happy to take her on board.
Of late, there has been a lot of movies about the reunion of friends and road trips? What have you to offer different with Rock On 2?
Rock On 2 is not about the reunion of friends. No one is fighting over an ex-girlfriend here. And we have stayed away from stereotyping youth as casual and careless. Country’s youth is very responsible unlike what is projected on the screen. You will see a mature story.
Songs haven’t created the same buzz this time.
All songs are woven internally in the film. Each song carries the story forward. People were apprehensive about Rock On songs too. They didn’t like the songs initially. Rock On songs became hugely popular after the film released. I am sure, same will be true for Rock On 2. Songs will catch up with the audience once the film releases.