Movie Review: 'Ok Jaanu'
Opened: 13 January 2017
Cast: Aditya Roy Kapur, Shraddha Kapoor, Naseerudin Shah, Leela Samson
Director: Shaad Ali
Producers: Mani Ratnam, Karan Johar, Apoorva Mehta, Hiroo Yash Johar
For a romance to work, you essentially have to connect with its leads (Befikre, I am looking at you) and here, despite a done-to-death plot line about 21st century commitment phobia, Ok Jaanu sails through purely on the basis of the electric camaraderie that Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor share with one another.
Their moments in the film are so palpable and relatable against the backdrop of urban Mumbai (in that, they don't hop on a private jet, flippantly for a day trip to sing songs abroad), that you're willing to connect and go along on their journey with them, and this is essentially where Shaad Ali scores, because he returns to his Ratnam roots, (who shares input as creative producer) with minimal Johar-esque influence or intervention, weaving together a collage of sequences that has remnants of his earlier millennial debut, Saathiya, the Vivek Oberoi-Rani Mukerji starrer which till date still top lines as one of my favourite Mukerji films.
An official remake of the Tamil hit, O Kadhal Kanmani, OK Jaanu is an urban romance between Adi (Aditya Roy Kapur), a video game designer who aspires to make it big in LA, and Tara (Shraddha Kapoor), an equally ambitious Mumbai lass who wants to pursue architecture in Paris. The narrative unfolds when, as a stop gap, Adi shifts bag and baggage from Lucknow to Mumbai and moves in as a temporary lodger with an elderly ex judge (Naseerudin Shah), and his ailing wife Charu (Leela Samson), and forms a bond with them as he gets set to cash in on his dreams. However, a chance encounter with Tara, alters the course of his life, (his biggest mistake as he puts it), and subsequently forces the young couple to re-evaluate essentially what it is that they really want to do with their lives.
Ok Jaanu is certainly not a perfect film. It's unnecessarily stretched, and the narrative itself shows no real urgency with Adi and Tara's character arcs occasionally making little sense – despite their alleged focus on their careers, neither of them really take their ambitions as seriously as they claim, especially while they whisper sweet-nothings and exchange lovelorn glances at one another against the backdrop of Rahman's magnetic and eclectic soundtrack (hands down one of the best aspects of the film). Moreover, there are definitely no surprises in the screenplay either, making you wish that the duo had been better utilised in something a little more contemporary, new age and a tad out of the box.
That said, neither of them really disappoint here. Shraddha is gorgeous, effervescent, and luminous all at once and compliments Aditya beautifully, and Aditya, despite not having much luck at the box office of late, turns out to be the real scene stealer with his goofy sexiness and rugged, earthy good looks. The lad definitely needs far better scripts because he definitely has that 'it' factor to go the distance, especially post his act here where he seems to have graduated from the awkward camera shyness he displayed in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and even Fitoor to an extent. Naseerudin Shah too is reliably good and the script definitely needed a little more to mete out his love story rather than consistently tom-tomming about the younger couple's woes.
Despite its flaws though, I enjoyed Ok Jaanu. It's entirely forgettable, and about 20 minutes too long, but remains eminently, and inexplicably fresh because Aditya and Shraddha go at it with an unabashed earnestness and they're aided by Rahman and Gulzar who weave a spell with their tunes again, Gulzar's razor sharp dialogue, and some eye popping camerawork by Ravi K. Chandran.
We've been here before, but it's all very harmless, mushy and warm and I didn't mind the ride too much this time – an easy, breezy, weekend watch, and for that I'm going with three stars out of five.