Movie title: Jaanu
Starring: Samantha, Sharwanand, Vennela Kishore, Raghu Babu, Varsha Bollamma, Saranya Pradeep
Producer: Dil Raju
Director: C. Prem Kumar
Release date: 7 February 2020
Jaanu Review: After All It Is Love - It's An Experience to Savour
To Ram from Jaanu
It is to tell about Ramachandra, a... mine from the school days that I am here now. But I have lost words. My faculty of speech. It is only to him that I can talk and express my feelings. No. Not in the way you all might expect. But, will I get a chance to meet him again? Life gives chances to only a few people. It appears that I have lost him forever ever since I had seen him for the last time...
We’re friends in school. More than that. The bond can be understood by only a few and can be experienced by even fewer. Not everyone gets such a chance in life. He always asks me to sing the song but I eluded him. I hadn’t sung it when he asked. I wanted to keep it for a special moment. Will that special moment ever come? My heart is being squeezed. By love. For him. But it’s life?
Ram Leaves the Stage for The Reviewer (of course, you all)
Ramachandra here! I better let this reviewer take over from here.
While the film is mostly narrated from the POV of Ramachandra, ‘96 was essentially a film about Jaanu. It’s Jaanu’s story bookended by the lost and found feelings of Ram. And cleverly packaged as Ram’s story. For... okay! We better not go into the details.
Then what about Jaanu? Is a remake necessary? Is it not a crime to touch a classic like ‘96? Can anyone replace Trisha as Jaanu let alone Vijay Sethupathi as Ram? Say what you all may. Whether this is for commercial reasons or personal reasons, Jaanu happened. The remake of the beloved classic (not a cult classic. These days every film is called a cult classic without really knowing the meaning of the expression like not many people really know what love means) ‘96.
So, we have two choices. One - watch it. Two - skip it. No need to hate. Especially when it’s a film about love. Of love. On love. Love itself. To quote our own review of Kabir Singh (written by yours truly), what makes ‘96 or films like ‘96 stick with us is the intensity. The intensity of love. For our nostalgia. Or for our first love. Or the feeling called love. Or shall we call Tamas the passion? And the intensity of storytelling.
If we observe closely, C. Prem Kumar’s creation just didn’t tell the story of Ram and Jaanu. Nor did he just show it. He made us feel it. The intensity of slender and tender emotions. Such emotions are usually hidden in the inner chambers of our hearts. In the deep valleys of our hearts. Such emotions lay hidden in each one of us. He has given the orifice to let them come out and surround us again. And to flood us with love.
Does it matter if the actors changed? The language changed? Certainly! It matters. After all, ever since Prem Kumar unleashed the thing of haunting beauty on the big screens, it ceased to exist being his. It has become ours. All of ours. After all, art is an artist's as long as the artist creates it. Once the artist gives the finishing touch, it becomes connoisseurs’. It’s the artist’s creation. But which the-created stays all-time with the creator?
The kid is mother’s. Does that mean kid always stays with mother? Isn’t there parting? No. Not in the way you think. I mean to say, the created doesn’t always stay forever with the creator. It needs an interaction with the world outside. That of that bonding. So, ‘96 is as much ours as it was and is Prem Kumar’s. We have a right to say whether it can be remade. But do we really have? Isn’t the person who wanted to remake it also loved the film? Isn’t he also the part of the collective who owned it from the artist called Prem Kumar?
So, like the saying goes: your freedom ends where mine begins. We have one option. To watch the film... I mean the remake. Or not.
Samantha vs Trisha
Why should we watch it if at all we decide to watch it? Samantha may not be as senior as Trisha. But she’s as good an actress, arguably better. She has the capability to own Jaanu as well as Trisha did if not better. But she has a plus point over Trisha. She can conjure up a childlike (innocent) smile, unlike Trisha. But Trisha one-ups her with the intensity she brings to the character of Jaanu. But isn’t it Samantha who played the role played by Trisha in the love story which we all had lived and still love? Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa/Ye Maaya Chasave!
So both can interchange/exchange their roles.
But the problem arises with Sharwanand. However good an actor he is, it is nigh impossible to replicate a work of Mr. Cinema, Vijay Sethupathi. Can anyone replace Kamal Haasan in Raja Paarvai/Amavasya Chandrudu? Vijay Sethupathi is once in a couple of generations (not once in a generation mind it) talent similar to Kamal Haasan. But it’s for Jaanu/Jaan/love that we watch Jaanu/‘96. So, like Love forgives we can forgive Sharwanand if he doesn’t match Vijay Sethupathi.
Sharwanand is good
But trust me! Sharwanand did a great job in his own way. It is his best performance to date sans Prasthanam.
Rest of the others don’t matter much but actors like Vennela Kishore and Raghu Babu leave their mark within the limited scope their roles have. And the impact created by young Jaanu is fantastic. The same cannot be said with young Ram. A big problem for this reviewer. But like I said earlier, love forgives. I forgive if any issues I have with casting choice just to experience the story of Ram and his Jaan Jaanu.
But why should there be a remake for a film like ‘96?
Guys! Let me give a final statement! Why should the greatest love story of eternity, Ramayana be written these many times in all these millenniums?
(To experience it’s different flavours, no?)
Rest doesn’t matter. But matters.
The music is as good as the original if not better. The cinematography is lovingly brilliant. The visuals have a similarly great vibe. The editing is without bells and whistles like a film like this should have. And it’s good. The production values are great. After all, it’s Dil Raju’s love letter to ‘96. May be to the love of his life. I don’t know.
Just go and watch it. Or skip it. But we have no right to ask for no remakes. For a film like this. Once again - love forgives!
Pycker Rating: 3.5 out of 5
(we retrospectively gave 4.25 for the original)
Reviewed by: GitacharYa