OK Jaanu Hindi Movie Review
It's 2017, and Bollywood is still coy about 'live-in' relationships. They have parents wanting answers to questions like 'shaadi ka iraada hai ki nahi'. And in a city like Mumbai where no one cares whether the neighbors are alive or dead, this film seems rather anachronistic.
And why on Earth will two people who are so serious about their careers are never shown doing a day's honest work? And why does Shraddha Kapoor allow her 'Jaanu' to call someone she respects as an architect 'budhau' (old man)? And why does no one in Shraddha Kapoor's office object to her picking up her bag and walking off whenever her 'Jaanu' calls? What makes Prahlad Kakkad who's a video game company boss so lenient with Aditya Roy Kapoor's absences (his sternness is so fake, you would rather believe Tiger Shroff can really fly!) when he goes away to romance his 'Jaanu'?
They had better pay the dialog writer lots of money for the number of times he has managed to accommodate the title in the conversation. For example: He says, 'Let's make these last few days together the best!'. She answers, 'Yes, let's.' He says, 'The best, Okay?'. She says, 'Okay!' Then he says, 'Okay, Jaanu!'
Use the same dialog to ask for ice cream. The 'okay?', 'Okay!', Okay, Jaanu!' thing still works!
You get so tired of the dialog you wonder why the Tamil version directed by Mani Ratnam (thankfully this follows frame by frame) was not such a bore to watch. Then you realise that in staying true to the original, there are pauses and silences induced because Dulquer Salman and Nithya Menen have far better screen presence and acting chops than Shraddha Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapoor. Aditya has played characters who commit suicide in most of his films, and this romance also seems to drive the audiences to it, especially in the second half.
So slow is the movie that your attention begins to wander at all the geographical liberties the film takes. How does Leela Samson (who is still as elegant in this version as she did in the original) who lives on Malabar Hill manages to get lost in Mohammed Ali Road, or how Aditya Roy Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor get off on Marine Drive and are seen eating ice cream at the Birdsong Cafe in Bandra... Naseeruddin Shah hams as always but the moment when he hears Shraddha kapoor sing and reacts, that moment shows us why he is considered to be great. But Prakash Raj working in his kitchen in the original is hard to beat.
The film, as all Dharma productions are is beautifully art directed, but we could have less of it. Don't know anyone who props dinner plates on the wall in a row like they do here. But will the younger audiences notice? They probably do not think beyond riding on motorbikes and buses and trains and taking selfies for Facebook hashtag 'Feeling Bliss With Jaanu'. Maybe they're 'okay' with an 'okay' movie. Some of us who grew up looking up to Casablanca and Roman Holiday (or for that matter DDLJ and KKHH) for romance, could give this one a miss.