14 Jan 2017

Movie Review: Ok Jaanu: Cheery Live-In Vibes

Adi (Aditya Roy Kapur) and Tara (Shraddha Kapoor) dash into each other's lives at a (unusually non-chaotic), symbolic Mumbai railway station. He is a video game developer with America in his emigration plans. She is an architect raring to go Paris for further studies, post a breakup.  

Their first lively conversation reveals a mutual dislike to marriage and commitments. Further meetings lead to fun, frolic and unmistakable magnetic attraction. Unable to live without each other, Tara moves in with Adi, thanks to his elderly landlord Gopi (Naseeruddin Shah) and his carnatic singer wife, Charu (Leela Samson). Gopi tends to his Alzheimer's ridden wife lovingly. The older couple's story has more compelling possibilities. 

The story doesn't touch any great heights from here. The culmination is tense, ending on a conventional path, rather than adventurous or open-ended. By the end credits, you have seen a movie that could have been a little gem. 

A full circle for Shaad Ali 
Shaad Ali began his directorial career remaking Mani Ratnam's Alaipayuthey (2000) into Saathiya (2002). Fourteen years on, Ali returns to remaking Ratnam's OK Kanmani (2015). The result, OK Jaanu, is a playful, endearing film. (Having watched only snatches of OK Kanmani, watch this blog to know (soon) if this is a shot-by-shot remake.) 

Mani Ratnam's signature moves are all over the film. Romantic film leads who are spontaneous, fun and bursting with joy, is a typical Ratnam touch. Also the affinity for rain scenes.It is in little moments that you get Ratnam's timeless, chirpy, life-affirming appeal. 

Performances add spark 
Adiyta Roy Kapur brings a natural high-spirited tone to his character. Shraddha Kapoor matches him scene for scene. Their amazing chemistry sparks up the film's best parts. Subtle little snatches are few, but for the last scenes. Leave the nuances to Naseeruddin Shah who steals the show as the caring, hearty husband. Leela Samson is good too, as is Kitu Gidwani. 

Ok Jaanu is still an impressive watch for its treatment, relevance, performances, AR Rahman's (original score and music) relentless, enigmatic verve and Gulzar's dialogues. 

Ok Jaanu's greatest, rarest moments occur when it lingers. This could have been a more layered, deeper take on live-in relationships. It works as a pleasant, entertaining film, best seen on 70mm. 

A decent year opener.   

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