Film- OK Jaanu
Director- Shaad Ali
Cast- Aditya Roy Kapur, Shraddha Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah, Leela Samson
It doesn’t even roll out of your tongue right. It is Shaad Ali’s remake of Mani Ratnam’s 2015 hit OK Kanmani, just like he did with Ratnam’s Alaipayuthe (2010) that became Saathiya (2002). It’s only fair to say that my views on this film are coloured as I have watched the Tamil one.
It is a nagging feeling when you are watching a film’s remake, having seen the original, and trying to gauge a more cerebral than on emotional reaction. I had liked OK Kanmani. It was Ratnam’s idea of a sabbatical from that period, where he let himself go and worked outside of his comfort zone. It’s like he wasn’t gunning for grand metaphors but only went on a vacation and hit upon a product idea. People even wanted to read it as a story where Chandrakumar (Mohan) and Divya (Revathi) of Ratnam’s Mouna Raagam (1986) take in a live-in couple as PGs at their home in 2015. OK Jaanu also proves why a film belongs to its director. Shaad Ali may have done a faithful job — with all cut and paste, but there is something missing.
His scenes don’t breathe. It is also because of the lead actors’ utter lack of chemistry. While Aditya Roy Kapur prefers to amble along with no visible effort, Shraddha Kapoor at least tries. A big reason why OK Kanmani worked the way it did was the lead pair of Dulquer Salman and Nitya Menen. Salman’s goofy charm and Menen’s sparkling exterior and complex interior went a long way in granting legitimacy to the proceedings. Here it seems like only Naseeruddin Shah and Leela Samson (the only actor retained from the original) are trying.
Some of the themes OK Jaanu deals with are things taken for granted over the years. Live-in relationships have been dealt with in a matter-of-fact way in ubiquitous multiplex Hindi films and they have provided both the cynical and romantic explorations of the problems that come after. There was an aesthetic aspect for Ratnam to set OK Kanmani in a bustling city like Mumbai where the leads could be anonymous and yet be able to capture them in close quarters living in premises they wouldn’t be able to afford in their lifetime, let alone find it.
It makes the viewer sort of a voyeur who knows the couple better than they know themselves. OK Jaanu exists in those things left unsaid by the past films that took some themes for granted choosing to deal with others. Therefore the lines, staging, direction and acting needed to be stronger. A little unfortunate to be cynical about one of the most anti-cynical romantic films in recent times.
But that’s what you get when you let Badshah do a remix of Humma with liberal helpings of rap. If that wasn’t enough — if I caught it right — there is even a 5-10 seconds dubstep of Annamacharya’s bhavamulona (used in OK Kanmani), only the lyrics here are in Hindi. The whole amalgamation is worse than Shah Rukh Khan’s favorite dinner — noodles with curd. And we wonder why OK Jaanu doesn’t roll off the tongue the way OK Kanmani does. Because it came from someone’s head when he/she put pen to paper and thought very hard what could replace Kanmani. Not from years of tripping to a song tuned by Ilaiyaraaja and sung by Kamal Haasan.