OK Jaanu hit the screens on Friday the 13th, January, 2017. The theme of commitment phobia itself feels as fresh as an over-gnawed chewing gum. On top of that, if, like me if you’ve have already seen the Mani Ratnam original Tamil movie “Ok Kanmani”, then surely you will feel the Hindi remake plays out way to be too dull and dreary in comparison, lacking in the vital spark and passion.
Much of the charm of the original (too lightweight to be in anyone’s best of Ratnam list anyhow) was in the pair of lovers — played by Dulquer Salman and Nithya Menon — scintillating together as well as on their own, making you believe in the life-altering ways of love. Kapur and Kapoor, however, are eminently lacklustre.
Ok Jaanu feels like an update on Saathiya, considering Shaadi Ali started his innings in Bollywood with Saathiya, which again was a remake of Mani Ratnam’s “Alaipayuthey”. And it’s not just to do with the Mumbai setting or the love blossoming in local trains. There it was all about making a young marriage work, here it is about eventually embracing marriage after living together in sin. It is all about opting for a life together even while pursuing separate dreams. And in both the films these life lessons come through an older couple — SRK and Tabu there and in this case the much older Naseeruddin Shah and Leela Samson in whose house the couple lives-in. As for the film holding up marriage as a norm, as the right thing to do, well that’s another debate altogether.
In remaking the original, Shaad Ali brings little that is new to the screen. The Mumbai setting, scenes, dialogue, camera placements and angles, even the colour palette and production design seems to have been reproduced verbatim.
The names of the couple — Adi (Aditya Roy Kapur) and Tara (Shraddha Kapoor) — their occupations, which are – video game developing and architecture, their family histories and background, their idols Zuckerbeg and Balkrishna Doshi, their dreams of going to the US and Paris — all is as it was. Right down to the way the sun rays fall on the faces of the lovers in one scene in the local, the carroty glow it lights them up with, it all harks back to the original. Why they even greet each other with the same odd Oye of Dulquer and Nithya. Every little moment hits you with déjà vu.
A few things do change; Hindustani classical music concert replaces the kutcheri. The new gaming visuals in opening credits feel fresh. But not every change is necessarily for the better. The insertion of the remixed Humma Humma, for instance. The couple of things that work here are Kitu Gidwani’s (who plays Tara’s mom) gorgeous saris and the presence of Naseeruddin Shah. He charms, holds your attention just by being himself, by effortlessly inhabiting the frames. I was left wanting more of Naseer. And wishing that Bollywood would get more adept at the young love thing, but none of it happened.
All in all OK Jaanu is just watchable because it does occasionally touch both the heart and the ear. But it is never able to shrug off the fluff that clings to its body.
Director: Shaad Ali
Star cast: Aditya Roy Kapur, Shraddha Kapoor, Leela Samson, Naseeruddin Shah, Kitu Gidwani
Run Time: 137 minutes