Sneak Peek: 'Ok Jaanu'
A breezy offering of new age Indian cinema welcomes in the New Year as romantic drama, OK Jaanu, releases in cinemas on 13 January 2017, presented by Dharma Productions and Madras Talkies, distributed by Fox Star Studios.
Reflecting modern, urban India and its energy, aspirations and love stories, conveyed through the inimitable style of director Shaad Ali (Bunty Aur Babli, Saathiya), OK Jaanu revolves around a young couple in a live-in relationship in Mumbai. The juxtaposition of career, ambitions, playfulness and emotions are brought to life onscreen through tender humour and pathos. The film is inspired by the super hit Tamil film, OK Kadhal Kanmani, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Mani Ratnam, who here lends his creative input as co-producer.
A wealth of acting talent takes ownership of the screen in OK Jaanu as new gen artists Shraddha Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur join veterans Naseeruddin Shah and Leela Samson, respectively delivering performances that will resonate with cross-generational audiences. Academy, BAFTA, Grammy and Golden Globe award-winning musical genius, A.R. Rahman, has crafted another impeccable soundtrack, including a reworking of one of contemporary Indian cinema’s most iconic anthems, Rahman’s earlier 'Humma Humma' (Bombay), redelivered in the form of 'The Humma Song' that’s already championing the airwaves.
OK Jaanu is a contemporary tale of 21st century, urban young romance mapped out in Mumbai, that weaves its lyrical tale through the fabric of the city’s drastically conflicting persona. Adi (Aditya Roy Kapur) is a young game designer from Lucknow who dreams of emigrating to the US and living the American dream. He comes to Mumbai to work at a start-up game development firm.
Adi plans to stay at an elderly couple’s home as a paying guest. Gopi (Naseeruddin Shah), an ex-High Court Judge, had previously worked with Adi’s brother, Ravi. He is a straight-laced, somewhat strict, elderly man. His wife, Charu (Leela Samson), an erstwhile, Hindustani classical singer is a cheerful, witty and quirky lady whose memory is fast fading due to Alzheimer’s. Adi gradually strikes a bond with them, integrating organically into their lives.
At a chance encounter during his friend’s wedding, Adi meets Tara (Shraddha Kapoor), a recent Architecture school graduate working with an architecture firm, who dreams of going to Paris to pursue higher education. Cheerful banter soon gives way to a conversation through which both Adi and Tara realise they strongly feel that marriage isn’t for them. They are happy to find a kindred soul in each other.
The pair starts spending time together and soon senses a palpable attraction, but they consciously try to keep a distance as they feel the constant proximity can only lead to one thing. Inescapably finding themselves drawn to each other and unable to stay apart, their relationship transcends into a physical one, despite their conservative backgrounds.
Tired of clandestine meetings in Tara’s hostel room, they decide to move in together until they go their respective ways to America and Paris. Adi brings Tara to meet Gopi, who dismisses the cohabitation proposal as absurd. As Tara strikes a chord with Charu over their shared love of music, the latter warms up to the young couple, which clears the way for Adi and Tara to live together in their house. Tara’s mother and Adi’s family eventually get to know they are living together and pressure mounts on them to get married. However, Adi and Tara steadfastly refuse to do so.
Tara’s admission to a university in Paris comes through, while Adi’s game pitch gets approved. With only ten days left and parting imminent, Adi and Tara are forced to confront some matters of the heart. Living together was always meant to be a stop gap arrangement but an incident involving the elderly couple forces them to re-look at their lives and futures.
Shraddha Kapoor on Ok Jaanu
OK Jaanu looks like the perfect, feelgood film to welcome in the New Year. Would you agree?
Yes I do. It's in a happy space, the film and is perfect for everyone who wants to have a smile on their faces.
It seems the perspectives of alternative generations are presented through Adi and Tara; and Gopi and Charu. Do you feel the film will consequently appeal to a broad demographic of cinemagoers?
Absolutely. It will appeal to a wide range of audience simply because that's the construct of its story.
How is Shaad Ali to work with as a director?
Amazing. He is so into what he does and is extremely passionate so that's very inspiring. At the same time he gives you that room to do what you would like to, in front of the camera.
You appear onscreen with Aditya Roy Kapur following the huge success of Aashiqui 2. Although different in genres, what sort of screen magic can audiences expect from you both once again?
The expectations are high and I do hope that the audience enjoys seeing us in this film. It is a different space from our first film together.
Tell us an interesting anecdote from the sets.
There are too many. One of the best things about this film was that everyone was very invested in the film personally. Especially the assistant directors.
How relatable was Tara as a character to you personally and how did you immerse yourself in the character?
One of the most important things that Shaad wanted to come across was that I am more mature than Aditya’s character and hence he told me to focus on the way I deliver my dialogues.
There is a rich, filmic heritage of remaking popular Tamil films in Bollywood. How much does OK Jaanu mirror the earlier OK Kanmani?
It is exactly the same as the Tamil one only thing is that it is adapted to Hindi cinema.
Bollywood cinema, as an art, seems to be more closely imitating life, through subject matters and narratives. Do you feel OK Jaanu is emblematic of that and reflects modern, urban life in India more realistically?
Yes and more so in an entertaining manner. I think it is an important topic that we are touching upon.
Why should audiences go and see OK Jaanu on 13 January?
They should go and see it if they want to have a smile on their faces and be entertained with a relevant topic today.
Produced by Mani Ratnam and Karan Johar and directed by by Shaad Ali, OK Jaanu hits cinemas on 13 January 2017. Are you looking forward to the film? Join the conversation at #OKJaanu