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Much Ado About Nothing

Saturday, January 14, 2017
By Deepa Gahlot

Ok Jaanu
Director:
Shaad Ali
Cast: Shraddha Kapoor, Aditya Roy Kapur, Naseeruddin Shah, Leela Samson and others
Rating: * * ½

For capturing the lifestyles of the young, ambitious and restless in Mumbai, Ok Jaanu is at least a decade too late. A remake of Mani Ratnam’s hit O Kadhal Kanmani, that possibly scandalised Chennai or perhaps woke up the conservatives to how the young view love and marriage, fits rather easily in Mumbai. (When would you find trains and buses so empty, for one!)

In Mumbai, a live-in relationship would not shock many, nor would such a big deal be made about a choice between love and career. This is the age of long-distance and also open relationships, and a couple can decide how much time or ‘bandwidth’ they wish to allot to various aspects of their lives. As for marriage, it is not going out of style in a hurry, even among those who see themselves as modern.

There is something quite phony in this love story from the unimaginative meet-cute to the production design. In Mumbai, it would be tough if not impossible for a judge to have such a huge Malabar Hill bungalow; if he did live in a palace, he would not have to keep a paying guest. Then, the paying guest room in the home of an old couple would not be painted red and made to look like a bordello. For that matter, a seedy guest-house room in Ahmedabad looks quite vulgarly ornate too, where the young couple in question – game designer Adi (Aditya Roy Kapur) and architect Tara (Shraddha Kapoor) - make steamy moves to a Hamma Hamma remix, but don’t sleep in the same bed.

Tara’s aversion to marriage is vaguely explained – her parents’ marriage broke up; her mother (Kitu Gidwani) is Bollywood’s idea of a successful career woman—short-hair, brusque manner.  Adi has no such excuse—his brother is happily married from the look of it, and his wife delivers the most sensible lines in the film, about why Adi and Tara’s bubble is bound to burst. Because the two may be working professionals but behave like giddy teens.

The contrast to their “figure out kar lenge” kind of love is contrasted with the ploddingly tender, almost fifty-year-old marriage of their landlords, played with complete sincerity by Naseeruddin Shah and Leela Samson.

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