January 13, 2017
Cast: Aditya Roy Kapur, Shraddha Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah, Leela Samson, Kitu Gidwani
Director: Shaad Ali
What are the chances that Ok Jaanu is a strictly okay film; nothing more, nothing less? Well pretty strong I’d say, considering that director Shaad Ali doesn’t bring much freshness to the cutesy but clichéd love story Ok Kanmani that Mani Ratnam wrote and directed two years ago.
It’s also a theme that was explored just last month in Befikre, in which a young couple decides to live in without making any commitments to each other. Expectedly, before you can stifle that yawn, the two have fallen in love. Ok Jaanu is the sort of film where the audience knows better than the clueless leads that this will end with a golden sherwani, a red lehenga, and those saat pheras, but we have to wait it out until the couple finds their way there.
The love-struck duo here is Adi (Aditya Roy Kapur) and Tara (Shraddha Kapoor), both newbies in Mumbai. An architect, she wants to go to Paris to further her career, while he, a videogame developer, is headed to Silicon Valley. The two want to make their limited time together count – so no fighting, no possessiveness, no commitments; just a relationship with “less drama”.
Unfortunately this also means barely any drama in the plot, a conflict that never feels urgent enough, and way too many montages of Adi and Tara goofing around on the streets and at nightclubs, set to A R Rahman’s refreshing tunes.
The more interesting love story here is that of their landlord Gopi Srivastava (a terrific Naseeruddin Shah), a retired judge devoted to his wife Charu (Leela Samson), a Carnatic singer who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. This couple grounds the flighty younger ones, so they finally get the deeper meaning of love.
The crackling chemistry that Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor shared in their last outing Aashiqui 2 is still there, and Aditya in particular plays it charming and lighthearted as the carefree Adi. But Shaad Ali drags the film on for too long – there’s not a lot to be said here, and very little that’s compelling.
I’m going with two out of five for Ok Jaanu – it’s a bit like flat soda. Palatable, but lacking any fizz.
(This review first aired on CNN News18)