“OK Jaanu?”…. Not exactly! Because I am a Mani Ratnam fan.

 

I booked myself for the first day first show of OK Jaanu today as I am a dedicated fan of the man called Mani Ratnam, the director, producer, screenwriter of Tamil Cinema, whose work is a standard in itself. His oeuvre means a lot for any Cinemaholic; fans across the globe acknowledge his reputation in Indian cinema. When his name is attached with a project, one tends to expect a feel of the magical spell his movies cast over the audiences down south. He has extracted exceptionally superior acting out of almost every actor he has casted in his movies. His films are intense & possess some of the best musical compositions by the Mozart of Madras A.R Rahman. He ventured into Bollywood with his trilogy on terrorism, Roja, Bombay & Dil Se & since then every piece of work by him has gathered respect.

 

I love Dil Se[1998] till date & refer it to my next generation. Every song from this epic is played in everyone’s playlist today; the lyrics by Gulzar saab hold meaning even in this era where love seems to have lost its meaning; “Ai Ajnabi” gives me goose-bumps every time I play it on my i-pod, “Jiya jalle” is what “Lata Mangeshkar” gifted us for our kinds, SRK & Manisha Koirala delivered magical performances….a chemistry so superior that is stands out as the rarest. Hand me a cinema lover who doesn’t appreciate this movie! Roja(dubbed)(1992) presented us with patriotism along with a hint of romance when I was in my teens. Every song composed by A.R Rahman for this movie is history.  Bombay(dubbed)(1995)… every beat, every note of the compositions, the delicate subject & it’s execution, the sensitive portrayal by its lead cast moved the nation. A simple actor/artist stole our hearts, who went by the name of Aravind Swamy & received a recognition in the era of the Khans (especially in the northern part of the country).

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Circa 1996 – I moved to the southern part of the nation & initiated my romance with Tollywood with “Thalapathy”(1991)- Rajnikanth & Mammooty & Shobhana…my first experience individually with their respective original flair. I witnessed the phenomenon attached with the Thalaivva in his native state & language, and it was a part of him I could never witness earlier; perhaps the way he was presented by filmmakers from Mumbai came with limitations. Nayakan (1987)- unmatchable & a rare masterpiece which could compete with the Hollywood’s Godfather. A movie, which is a cult in its genre, with Kamal Hassan delivering a role which has gone down in history as the finest… we had our own Brando!!

Iruvar(1997) which launched Aishwarya Rai in the industry with Mohanlal & Prakash Raaj & Tabu & Gautami & Revathi (what an ensemble!).

Anjali(1990) is a movie about a special child who ended up winning the hearts of the entire nation. Need I say more? It moved every bit of a father & a mother in India.

Alaipayuthe (2000) showed a glimpse of a couple’s issues post marriage & Madhavan surprised me because he acted really well along with Shalini.

 

Thiruda Thiruda(1993), Kannathil Muthamittal(2002), Aaytha Ezhuthu (2004) which he made simultaneously as “Yuva” (his 2nd venture in Bollywood)  & many more to his credit. This is very little of his work I managed to view on the VCD.

 

Then came Guru(2007) which gave me a reason to bestow my respect upon Abhishek Bachchan for once being able enough to rise above the shadows of his legacy. He gave a memorable performance which earned him accolades but one cannot deny the contribution of the man behind the cameras. Ravaan (2010) was rejected by the audience though but I still rate Abhishek’s version better than Vikram’s from Raavanam.

Coming to the remakes of his originals by others… well Feroze Khan did attempt Dayaavan(1988) but it was a “scene to scene” copy.

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Alai Payuthey– remade as “Saathiya (2002) established Rani Mukherji & Vivek Oberoi as solid actors in our industry. I don’t think Vivek could repeat the intensity Shaad Ali was able to extract out of him. The presentation of this version was received well by the audience simply because of the magnificent chemistry b/w the lead pair. Expectations were elevated when OK Jaanu was promised to the audience as an official remake of O Khadhal Kanmani (2015). Shaad Ali has given some good piece of cinema to us, so the trust went along with him. But he failed this time. Simply because he chose the wrong cast & a narrative not suited for a true “Hindi” Romantic flick. He copied the version without adapting it for movie lovers like me who look for all the elements in a movie: music, chemistry, romance, intensity, drama….suitable to the plot yet adapted not copy-pasted.

Mani Ratnam is not any other guy but a reputation. I am disappointed today because the biggest production house of Bollywood is behind its remake. Shaad Ali took charge but he failed. He failed to show me what Mani Ratnam gave his Tamil audience. I feel sorry for my alike, for the cinemaholics, for the keepers of this tag “lovers of cinema”. The choice of actors, the execution of its plot, the treatment…………it all failed me because I did not carry a single “Mani Ratnam” feeling with me back home. Instead I was bored by the repeated silliness in the name of acting by the Hero. He is cute indeed but not fit  to portray such intensity as Ratnam’s actors are known to exhibit. I did not receive a single moment on screen which was worth carrying in my mind. The lead pair & the build-up of their characters just did not present a single/genuine romantic scene to speak of. They seemed with each other because they were meant to be according to the script.

Please do not promise me a remake which is not replicated with a proper execution; especially a one based on the original work of a maestro. Please do not copy-paste these originals but rather adapt them suitably or just let these creations exist as they are supposed to be. “Originals”. Give us dubbed versions instead… for we have loved them in the past.

Sorry!! Not “OK” Jaanus!!