Film Review: Ok Jaanu proves a lame remake
Ok Jaanu is a boring remake of a rather not-so-great original and covers no new turf, writes Deepa Gauri
O Kadhal Kanmani, the Tamil original of OK Jaanu, might have been a redemption for its director, the modern master of romance and Indian cinema, Mani Ratnam. His wife, actress Suhasini, had warned the public that we shouldn't dare criticize it, and leave that job to the 'learned critics.'
Well, the movie was a superhit, and Mani Ratnam stood tall in comeback glory although it was hardly the stuff that demanded of him to push the boundaries.
So when Shaad Ali, who assists Mani Ratnam, and had earlier paid fan-boy tribute with Saathiya (the remake of Alaipayuthey) decided once again to go back to his guru's work, the least you expect is an enhancement of the work - not a copy-paste template.
Shaad Ali tries to take some detours with the narrative but he missed what Mani did to the original: Speed.
OK Kanmani worked for its speed; it is the pace of youth that Mani Ratnam portrayed set against the life of an ageing couple, who watch the drama of undecided love and live-in relationship of today's young people- with a bit of shock and nonchalance.
Mani Ratnam was getting to the flip side of Alaipayuthey - of living together before marriage. Shaad Ali only takes the narration not the underlying 'soul'. The result is OK Jaanu, where we are left as confused and exasperated as the young couple Adi (Aditya Roy Kapur) and Tara (Shraddha Kapoor).
It could be defended that Ok Jaanu talks about a confused generation but that gives no excuse for a film to run emptily, repeating itself.
With a stellar team of Gulzar on dialogues, Mani Ratnam on story and screenplay, AR Rahman on music, Ravi K Chandran as cinematographer, A Sreekar Prasad as editor and Karan Johar on the producer seat, is this the best remake that Bollywood can deliver?
Surely, something is missing.
That x-factor is chemistry; the protagonists just go about their acts with little 'real passion,' the letdown here being Shraddha Kapoor. If Nithya Menen lent life to the original, Shraddha wavers in confusion. Surprisingly, Aditya Roy breezes through as Adi. Dulquer Salman hadn't set any unreachable benchmark in the first place, but Aditya is in firm command.
What Ok Jaanu unfolds for us is a meandering of scenes, often seeming to be add-ons, as Adi and Tara try to decipher their relationship. Mani had no confusion on the lust that defined his characters in Tamil; here it takes a while for even that to set in.
Even without elaborating, the original had the life of the elderly couple (in Hindi, played by Naseeruddhin Shah and Leela Samson) serving as the antithesis to everything the young ones were playing out. In Ok Jaanu, how we wish to see the elderly more, as they seem real than the vacuous romance of the young.
OK Jaanu isn't a bad film; it is just lazy; just as the original, it reinforces stereotypes and endogamy, and breaks no new ground about relationships in a modern context.
Ultimately, as Mani reminded us, everything has to go the societal way. The younger Shaad Ali opts to conform to that, establishing once again that romance in mainstream cinema has hardly matured, and never might.
Directed by Shaad Ali
Starring: Aditya Roy Kapur, Shraddha Kapoor, Naseeruddhin Shah and Leela Samson
Now playing at theatres in the UAE