The lead pair can make a film. They can lift the narrative and give it that texture that makes up for the lack of punch and focus.
Ok Jaanu, a Mani Ratnam-Shaad Ali combo, does exactly that. The creative backup fails to take off. The glossy urbane film that deals with emotions denominated largely by contemporaneity has two people who are focused about tomorrow and would not want to be stalled by a relationship. They however cannot resist the temptation.
Adi (Aditya) and Tara (Shraddha) have globally different milestones. She is a sales and marketing person looking for a career in Europe, he a dollar chaser. He comes to stay with an ageing couple Gopi (Naseerudin Shah) and his Alzheimer-suffering wife Charulata (Leela Samson). The young couple decides to live-in.
While both steadily hypnotise themselves into the belief that it is only a relationship and not a budding romance, they predictably get attracted and cannot live without one another. Interestingly, the problem of career choices and richness of life does not ring a familiar bell and the audience can hardly empathise with the cultural space the protagonists etch for themselves.
The ageing couple is the inspiration and the climax is more about them than Adi and Tara who suddenly cannot live without each other. When their career dreams start to take shape, they have to choose between their jobs and personal life.
While Leela Samson gives the film grace and does not go wrong at any given point, Naseer is vintage, and can remind you yet again the importance of his few minutes in the film.
Shraddha sure gives the film its moments but there are times when she lacks the exuberance that Alia or Anushaka has in terms of acting.
The film surely belongs to Aditya. He is a heady mix of the vulnerability of Akshay, the grace of Farhaan, the magic of Ranbhir and the fizz of Shahid. He is genuine and warm. Remember in Aashiqui he was lost and dazed. This time he oozes with charm and his sense of timing in the lighter scenes warrants special mention.
Yet another highlight of the film is the music by AR Rahman. In a combo with Gulzar, he presents some winsome classical backdrop. Do not miss Sri Ragam and Sudha Dhanyasi. He then picks Raag Behag (Sun Bhavra) and Darbari Kanada (Saaja Aiyo) to tell you that there is more to contemporary music than the Sufi school. He does not go overboard and sticks to the basics, ensuring that melody is not lost to rhythm.
Predictably from the Karan Johar stable, this feel-good film is exactly that. The lead pair adds to the credibility quotient. Watch Ok Jaanu for some subtle moments — trademark Naseer, the endearing loveable presence and performance of the new and underrated Kapoor–Aditya.