That sentiment – love is the greatest religion – is the operating principle of this sparkling, boisterous, sometimes bloated but always determined-to-entertain film.
In one deeply moving scene, Rocky tells Rani’s family that he is the way he is because, until now, he didn’t know better. He has been conditioned to believe certain things and behave a certain way.
The plot becomes more somber and more determined to deliver social messaging – this is a film that bats for inclusivity. It shows us how patriarchy curdles even the closest relationships and suffocates even those who have power.
The plotting becomes simplistic and convenient and almost breaks under the weight of what the film wants to say. And when the writing falters, all the beauty and the expensive splendor has a sort of flattening, blandifying effect.
Thankfully the director manages to steer past the soft spots on the strength of sheer emotion. He has made cinema that isn’t rooted in any known reality or location or politics. His reality comes from the rawness and bigness of the drama and sentiment.