Usually, filmmakers dont take the risk of remaking classics, as people will start to compare everything with original. Nonetheless, Dil Raju believed that director C Premkumar will recreate the magic of 96 and Sharwanand, Samantha can pull off the roles spotlessly. Will Dil Raju’s prediction turn true with Jaanu?
A travel photographer K Ramachandra aka Ram (Sharwanand) turns nostalgic after unexpectedly visiting his school. He along with classmates plan a reunion. Ram’s first and only crush S Janaki Devi aka Jaanu (Samantha) who is now married and settled in Singapore with family also joins the reunion party. Rest of the story is all about a flood of emotions these high school sweethearts go through when they meet after a gap of 17 years.
96 that starred Vijay Sethupathi and Trisha was termed as one of the classic romantic entertainers in Tamil cinema. Despite criticism, Dil Raju followed his heart and remade the film with Sharwanand and Samantha. Director Premkumar did not make any changes to the script and he simply made it as a frame to frame remake. He took a right decision by casting Sharwa and Sam for lead roles. Ram and Jaanu's young days take us back to their school days. The film actually reveals a lot about helplessness, pain in knowing that a few things have not gone our way and it changed everything. Though runtime is lengthy for the film of thid genre and narration is tad slow, there are passable heart-touching sequences to make it a better watch.
Soul of the film is Govind Vasantha's soothing music. He gets some lilting tunes in the flute and piano to fill up the stroppy pauses. Oohale was an instant favorite and its placement is just magical to watch. Especially, you sense goosebumps when Samantha enters the reunion venue and the BGM played to mesmerize. Cinematography by Mahendiran Jayaraju is so authentic wherein Praveen KL’s editing needed few cuts. Production values of Sri Venkateswara Creations are just ideal.
Onto artists, Sharwanand’s casual portrayal as Ram looks buoyant. He bulked up for the role and delivered flawless performance. Samantha scores with an elusive yet intense performance as Jaanu. Conveying emotions with their eyes, they feed off each other’s energy and leave you asking for more. The artist who played young Sharwa looks believable as an innocent chap. Gouri is fantastic as young Jaanu and her expressions are top-notch, just like original. Vennela Kishore, Thagubothu Ramesh and Saranya Pradeep add to the fun quotient throwing up some light-hearted moments. Raghu Babu tried to imitate Janagaraj who played the role of watchman in the original. Varsha Bollamma was cool as Sharwa’s student.
Lack Of Commercial Ingredients
Strictly For Multiplex Audience
The film is an ode to the unconditional love shared by two beautiful souls. It may be impossible to expect a love story like Ram and Jaanu's today. But, for some reason, their characterizations make you root for them. Seeing Ram and Jaanu, we wish with all your hearts for them to lead a life together. The narrative that goes back and forth doesn’t falter much. But, the slow pace in narration somehow brings boredom at many places as we find our side patron yawning frequently.
The initial portions take us to Sharwanand's life, who is a renowned travel photographer. We travel with him to all those places he visits. He comes back to hometown Vizag and pays a visit to school, setting him off on a path down the memory lane. The school episode is nostalgic. We get Sharwa and Sam's adorable teenage romance intercut with sequences from the reunion. Their young days will help you revisit your school days and your first love. The interval episode is very simple with Sam getting into Sharwa’s car to reach her hotel room.
The latter half starts on slow note with lengthy conversation between Sharwanand and Samantha. In fact, the entire second half of the film has only two characters- Ram and Jaanu. Repetitiveness is felt in flashback episodes where Ram tries to meet Jaanu and a small misunderstanding leads to their separation. Conversations over coffee and a ride in the metro are sensibly dealt. The end is also very simple with Sharwa and Sam heading back to their normal lives after heart-wrenching emotional journey.
All in all, Jaanu is a slow-paced romantic tale with good performances from lead cast and support from the technical crew. Particularly, Govind Vasantha tried his best to give life to the tedious sequences. CJ goes with 2.5 stars and we need to wait and see how the film fares at the box office because B, C audiene are not the same as A center.