Despite several films being made on or touching upon the subject of live-in relationships in India, ‘O Kadhal Kanmani’, the Tamil film directed by Mani Ratnam came as a breath of fresh air because of the treatment. The film showed the issues and dilemma faced by two young individuals who wanted to give their relationship a chance even as career remained to be their first priority. The Hindi remake, co-produced by Mani Ratnam and Karan Johar, and directed by Shaad Ali, who had also helmed ‘Saathiya’, the Hindi remake of Ratnam’s ‘Alaipayuthey.’ While the original had boasted of solid performances by its two leads, one has good expectations from the remake which features Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor, the hit pair of ‘Aashiqui 2.’
Upon his arrival in Mumbai to work as a video game developer, Aditya/Adi (Aditya Roy Kapur) spots Tara (Shraddha Kapoor) making an attempt to jump in front of a moving train. Aditya shouts at her from the other end of the platform but she vanishes from his sight soon after. They meet again at a common friend’s wedding and become close to each other. Their bond gets stronger and they decide to live together. Initially, Adi’s landlord (Naseeruddin Shah) is not too pleased at the prospect of an unmarried couple living in their vicinity but changes his mind after he sees Tara getting along famously with her wife (Leela Samson). After moving in together, Adi and Tara’s relationship gets stronger and then, there comes a time where they are forced to make a choice between love and career.
As the original was directed by another person, one would have liked Shaad to bring his own vision and ideas to the table and present the audience with his own interpretation of the script. One was hoping that they would rework its rushed and over-commodious ending in the remake but even that does not happen.
Despite the film not offering much novelty to people who have watched the original, it works because it stays faithful to the original which was a well-crafted film. The 137 minutes pass by like a breeze without offering a single dull moment. Even though the conflict between the couple could have brought out more effectively, you smile, laugh and even shed tears as you see the couple doing mundane things as they move forward in their relationship.
Aditya Roy Kapur plays his off-screen persona and that, perhaps, work pretty well for the character he is playing here. Shraddha Kapoor lends a great amount of charm to Tara’s character and makes her immensely likeable. Naseeruddin Shah strikes a balance between being the stern landlord and the credulous and loving father-figure to the couple. Leela Samson reprises her role from the original and performs equally well in this film. Prahlad Kakkar delivers a crackling performance as Adi’s boss.
Shaad Ali makes a frame-to-frame copy/remake of his mentor’s film and one cannot help but question his lack of belief in himself to flesh out a different-looking film off the same script. As the original film was based in Mumbai, he got away with the task of reworking the script and changing the milieu to cater to the sensibilities of a pan India audience. The soundtrack (A.R. Rahman, Badhshah and Tanishk Bagchi), consisting of a number of songs from the original is, pleasant. The background score (A.R. Rahman and Qutub-E-Kripa) is equally good. With top notch technician like Ravi K. Chandran (cinematography) and A. Sreekar Prasad (editing at the helm of affairs, it is no surprise that the film comes across as a technically superior product.
Those who have not seen ‘O Kadhal Kanmani’, might love ‘OK Jaanu’. For those who have, this film should serve up as a pleasant, second time watch.