After a very long time, a well-told love story has
come to town. In the Hindi remake of Mani Ratnam’s O Kadhal Kanmani,
directed by his longtime assistant Shaad Ali, you know where the story will
ultimately go but the beauty lies in its straightforward, endearing narration.
A dramatic first glimpse at the railway station, some
cute communication at a friend’s church wedding and a couple of dates later,
the mutual attraction between Tara and Adi blossoms into a relationship. Career
or lifelong commitment may be the dilemma of any working couple but Mani
Ratnam’s writing handles it with feeling and not by outdated preaching.
There have been umpteen films from Hollywood with the
same theme of love-struck youngsters wanting a relationship with no strings
attached. Read that as marriage. But Ok
Jaanu has contemporary Indianness, a bit of wit and lots of freshness. And
so there’s just that little bit of eyebrow-raising or a nudge from the elders
to head for the altar. Layered with the reality of ageing romance that’s portrayed
with warmth and efficiency by Leela Samson and Naseeruddin Shah, it gets the
right touch of gravitas which stops it from getting frivolous.
Shraddha Kapoor with her lopsided smile, is lovely as
Tara Agnihotri who got turned off by the idea of marriage after her parents’
separation and an unpleasant custody battle. Aditya Roy Kapur is effervescent as
Adi and brings much charm to the romance. The reunion of
the Aashiqui 2 lovers thus works
The writing stirs in a tad of classical music and with
AR Rahman at the helm, you get a beautiful Rhim
jhim in the background for the first bout of lovemaking. He also revisits Humma humma, giving a night out at a
Majama lodge in Ahmedabad a likeable familiarity. You know there’s Gulzar’s pen
at work when you hear lyrics like Nain
kajra re in the music. And he gives you simple dialogues like Naseer
advising nephew Adi not to miss the train even if you don’t have a ticket.
Naseeruddin Shah as the principled but emotionally
malleable Judgesaab is brilliant. There are soft little touches in the
direction like Shraddha’s hair blowing across her face and staying there. And Ravi K Chandran’s cinematography is
Ok Jaanu is proof
that for a contemporary love story to work, you don’t have to jump into bed at
first sight or overdose on kissing and stripping.
For a beautifully told love story, Ok Jaanu get a 3.5* rating.
Bharathi S Pradhan
Columnist, Critic & Author