I have never watched O Kadhal Kanmani. And god knows how I have held on. The internal struggle to watch it before this film so as to appreciate the adaptation was hard but I overcame that. When you know that a Mani Ratnam film, that holds such a huge appeal, is being remade, its only natural that you get excited and hopeful. But at the same time, I wanted to give this one a chance to make its own case, find its own balance and rise up to the occasion. After all it has been written by Mani sir himself. I was in for a surprise.
Shaad Ali’s Ok Jaanu is a pretentious new-agey take on live-in relationships. Adi, played by Aditya Roy Kapoor, is an upcoming game-designer who has an explosive, hyper-active personality with an overly optimistic view of the world. Tara, played by Shraddha Kapoor, is an architecture intern who is goal-oriented herself and dreams of studying architecture in Paris one day. They meet serendipitously in a mutual friend’s wedding sparking a quirky conversation based on the common perspective they have about marriage. Both seem to share the opinion that marriages are the ultimate downfall of any healthy relationship as responsibilities turn into baggages and bog down couples into living a life of unnecessary drama and dissatisfaction. As friendship blossoms into runaway love, the sweet beginning turns more and more into a sequel of Befikre. There, I said it. I remember talking to a friend of mine who shared that exact sentiment that the trailer looked a lot like Befikre but I, in all my Mani Ratnam optimism, defended it saying – “Look, its not the same. There’s this added layer of those two career-oriented people which must lead onto a point where they would have to make a difficult choice.”
To me, that was perhaps the most time-tested script in the history of cinema. Something that never fails to evoke emotion. Being Shaad Ali, I already had a formula for the same. Saathiya had the grounded realism that swayed audiences years back and would certainly do so in today’s time where the consumerist culture makes relationships turbulent and much more sensitive than before. However, film-makers today have developed this unhealthy penchant to portray relationships in a fleeting manner, from moment to moment as if they are afraid of facing a deep, well-choreographed scene. It’s always a bunch of different shots merged together into an incessantly running “scene” which becomes such a hyperbole to the real world that you stop caring for the characters.
It’s always a bunch of different shots merged together into an incessantly running “scene” which becomes such a hyperbole to the real world that you stop caring for the characters.
Ok Jaanu is a paradox in itself. On one hand, the lead protagonists teeter about from being endearing characters at times and then falling into such forced humor which makes them lose all consistency. There are several ways Writers use to make their characters likable and humor is perhaps the most difficult one to execute. If the lead characters are engaged in a conversation that is aimed at inducing light-hearted laughter, it better resonate with the audience. If such moments fall flat like they did here, nothing else in your film would make up for that void that should have been filled by those “adorable love-birds”. The paradox presents itself in the captivating relationship that we see between Judge Sahab or Gopi Uncle (played by Naseeruddin Shah) and Charu Aunty (played by Leela Samson). The beautiful treatment of that piece makes you wonder how the other bit could have been made so immaturely. It was as if two different Directors with two different visions were directing the film at the same time, one with a clear outlook which showed on screen and another who struggled with the very tone of young love.
Ravi K Chandran’s masterful cinematography is one of the pillars which helps the film stand on its feet. I wouldn’t have given it the half the amount of attention that it got, had it not been so beautifully shot.
They say that the story is always as good as the story-teller. Ok Jaanu could have been told mesmerizingly. Ravi K Chandran’s masterful cinematography is one of the pillars which helps the film stand on its feet. I wouldn’t have given it the half the amount of attention that it got, had it not been so beautifully shot. Chandran brought with him his legacy of some of the best looking films in our times such as Dil Chahta Hai, Black, Saawariya and My Name is Khan. He gives Ok Jaanu the soul it doesn’t seem to have. The other pillar, no points for guessing, is Rehman’s soulful music which you can’t stop humming and I am not talking about “The Humma Humma song”. No, that’s an abomination ! You just can’t beat the attitude Remo Fernandes had when he sang the original.
Here, check it out:
Shaad Ali’s hit and miss run at Bollywood continues with his current film but I would like to think that he still holds that maturity somewhere inside that has given us some very good films in Saathiya and Bunty and Babli. I sincerely request you to stop trying to make a grand film but stick to your roots. Grab hold of characters, stay with them, draw a scene out into its myriad of emotions. Bollywood needs Films that are grounded in reality and yet, not as dark. You, sir, can give us that. Fingers crossed for your next.
gobblpoint: If you liked Aditya and Shraddha’s chemistry in Aashiqui 2, you’d probably like this even more. Watch it for some of the most endearing performances by the immensely talented Naseeruddin Shah and the absolutely adorable Leela Samson, if not for the story.
Disclaimer: The images used in this post are the sole property of the makers of the film and are not owned by us in any form whatsoever.