‘Jaanu’, the Telugu remake of the Tamil romantic drama ’96’, released today in theatres. Producer Dil Raju had to take a bold step to go in for the remake of a film that has been considered by many as a classic. In this review, we analyze what makes ‘Jaanu’ a drama worth a watch.
Story: K Ramachandra (Sharwanand) is a 33-year-old travel photographer who meets his high-school friends while on a visit to Vizag. A get-together is planned and least does he expect that Jaanu (Samantha Akkineni), his high-school sweetheart, would attend the event. When they cross paths after more than 15 years, the duo takes a brisk walk into their past. How did the two end up parting ways even though they both loved each other? What is Samantha’s status now? Can they ever lead happy lives together?
After ‘Majili’ and ‘Oh Baby’, Samantha Akkineni is formidable. If anything, she has bettered her ‘Majili’ performance and has brought to the table the charm of her early films and the maturity that was seen in ‘Yeto Vellipoyindi Manasu’. Sharwanand is remarkable and amazingly subtle. In most of the scenes, he is spot-on. There are moments where he could have been better. Samantha, overall, shadows him.
Gouri Kishan, the younger self of Samantha, is yet another nice performer, so also Sai Kiran Kumar. Varsha Bollamma, who was recently seen in ‘Choosi Choodangane’, is able. Saranya Pradeep is so-so. Vennela Kishore, Tagubothu Ramesh, and Raghu Babu are convincing.
Govind Vasantha makes the love story all the more soulful with his songs. ‘Oohale’ and ‘Pranam’, both rendered by Chinmayi Sripada in company with two male singers, stand out. The BGM is light, it doesn’t overreach itself. Mahendran Jayaraju N’s cinematography is both smart and dramatic, the way it should be. Editing by the critically-acclaimed Praveen KL is yet another plus.
The chemistry between the lead pair has to be one of the biggest merits.
The first half is like a breeze. No scene is stretched out unnecessarily.
The climax is a heart-touching stretch. The conversations are a mixture of drama and realism.
There are no avoidable comedy scenes, etc. Despite there being comedians, the film avoids the temptation of low-hanging fruits.
While the songs are very good, the lyrics department (Sirivennela Seetharamasastry and Shreemani) enriches the experience.
What Fails: The second half is all about the lead pair. Their conversations get tiresome, if not mediocre, after a point. This is not a story-based movie. So, don’t expect the story to move forward every 30 minutes. With everything resting on the shoulders of Samantha and Sharwa, the film becomes too thin here and there. Samantha’s behavior in some scenes is more entertaining than it should have been.
The best thing that happened to the film is that it was directed by C Premkumar, who directed the Tamil original. In that respect, the soul of the original is intact. Without troubling the audience with too much of Tamil nativity, the director delivers goods. Everything said, the film’s sensibilities don’t cater to vast sections of audiences. Give a try if you like soft romances that are wistful. It’s the story of two souls who go through a range of emotions.