'Jaanu', starring Samantha and Sharwanand, hit the screens this Friday. Here we present the review of the latest box-office release.
K Ramachandra aka Ram (Sharwanand) is a travel photographer and a loner by choice. On a chance visit to his hometown, he nostalgically walks into his high school and takes a pleasant walk down memory lane to 2004 when he was a tenth standard student harboring feelings for his beautiful classmate Janaki Devi aka Janu (Samantha Akkineni).
For some reason, they parted ways after a couple of years. More than fifteen years later, what does life have in store for them? That's the crux of the story.
Writer-director C Premkumar, who also directed the Tamil original '96', makes his characters, their tender emotions, their no-so-enviable circumstances and their fates do the talking. He narrates the story in a relaxed way, taking his sweet time to set up the characters played by the lead pair. That's what does holds 'Jaanu' up.
Unlike typical love stories, this film is not about events. It's a lot about conversations and how two souls revisit their past and look at the future with hope (or maybe, with nothing in particular). A major portion of the first half is set in the memories of school life, the innocent first love and the friendships that at one level do remind the audience of Ravi Teja's 'Naa Autograph'. That said, the sensibilities here are different.
The simple scene of a college girl carrying a letter from young Ram to young Jaanu is narrated in three different angles that explains a lot of the conflicts of the film nicely.
The first half sustains the audience's interest with ease. The situational humour involving Vennela Kishore, Tagubothu Ramesh, Saranya Pradeep and others is minimal and that's a blessing. Raghu Babu is seen as the watchman of the school and his bonding with the male lead is thankfully not melodramatic. Such elements sweeten up the proceedings and don't expect them to do much.
As the film inches towards the interval, Samantha's character takes the initiative in spicing up the mood. With her showing interest in Ram's marital status, curtains are raised for the second half.
The second half is a long and somewhat sluggish marathon of emotional crests and troughs. As the lead pair chit chats, they revisit their past and explore what could have gone right. But it's too late for them. Samantha's crying tugs at the heartstrings, while Sharwa looks composed and less susceptible to breakdowns. The scene where he withdraws into a shelf as she asks him about his virginity is cute.
The second half could have done without more of the same. Mirchi Kiran adapts the dialogue originally written in Tamil in an able fashion, but there should definitely have been more depth.
Samantha and Sharwa try their best to justify the characters. If in some scenes the latter outperforms the former, in others, it's Sam all the way. It's a treat to watch them do it all like naturals. Sai Kiran Kumar as the young Ram and Gouri Kishan as the young Jaanu are superb.
The cinematography by Mahendran Jeyaraju makes the story of the lead pair seem all the more intimate. Their personal journey gets a boost also thanks to the background score by Govind Vasantha, who elevates the proceedings to the next level. From 'Pranam' and 'Oohale' to 'Inthena', the songs become a tool of narration. With Chinmayi Sripada dubbing for Samantha and also singing the songs, it looks all the more organic. Editor KL Praveen has let the story flow as naturally as possible for the most part.
It's one thing to remake a masterpiece. It's quite another to remake a classic. Director C Premkumar delivers a mixed package, one must say. Watch this one for the delicacies of coming terms with the past. The performances are a big plus, so also the technical output.