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Jaanu Movie Review: Samantha Akkineni and Sharwanand's bittersweet romance drama does justice to it's original.

Modified On: 07 February 2020 | Reviewed By:

Jaanu is the official remake of 2018 Tamil hit 96 starring Vijay Sethupathy and Trisha and this film doesn't create the same magic as the original but still manages to be good and does justice to it.


Director: C. Prem Kumar | Music Director: Govind Vasantha

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Cast: Samantha Akkineni, Sharawanand

Director: C. Prem Kumar

Jaanu is the remake of the Tamil film 96 but yet manages to recreate the charm though not the magic.

Sharwanand plays K Ramachandran, a travel photographer in his 30s, who hasn’t managed to move on from the girl he had loved in school, Jaanu. At their school reunion, childhood lovers are just as starstruck as they were 17 years ago. And the hours they spend together before Jaanu has to return to her life – her husband and child in Singapore – allow them to recount their love and the miscommunication that cost them a fairy-tale ending. We need to look at Jaanu’s character sketch in two parts, the teenage one (Gouri Kishan reprises her role in 96 and plays it with the same tender elegance) and the one all those years later.

But the big moment was Samantha stepping into the massive shoes of Trisha (not for the first time). I think it’s probably a moment of cinematic history too that Samantha’s entry got the loudest cheer from the audience (we are in 2020 and finally we have learned to appreciate a good female actor, and probably the protagonist of a movie). Samantha eases into a role that focuses heavily on her countenance – every movement of her eye, every twitch, every frown, every turn of red on her face, the flush and blush, all of it. 

The second half of the movie is an ode to how much a good actor can express on her face, especially when there isn’t a lot of dialogue. It is a massive burden that Samantha carries with elan, given Sharwanand’s character is more an awkward man who hasn’t moved on from his teenage uneasiness. So, even though Sharwanand’s supporting act is impressive, Samantha is the one who carries the weight of a lot of untold, unsaid emotions.

Prem Kumar takes up the challenge of remaking his own film in Telugu. Sharwanand and Samantha step into the shoes of Vijay Sethupathi and Trisha. Most of the scenes and dialogues remain the same. Instead of 1996, the school batch here is from 2004, to fit the slightly younger protagonists.

Sharwanand surrenders himself to the world of Ram and presents a nuanced portrayal from the beginning. He’s superb and this is, by far, his best act. Samantha comes into her own gradually, after the hotel room scene where she breaks down; the conversations that follow give her, and Ram, a sense of closure of the past. Jaanu is another feather in her cap, but there are portions where she seems to struggle, as though a tad weighed down by the part. 

The latter half is also where the film feels bloated and could have done with some trimming. The piece de resistance is Jaanu singing ‘Yamuna thatilo’ from Thalapathy and Ram fumbling for a lamp, to see her and treasure the moment forever.

Jaanu is a nostalgic trip filled with lots of beautiful moments, and it also makes you ask yourselves if you can truly move on from some relationships. By the end of the film, Ram is so moved after meeting Jaanu that he clings on to her memories even more, and Jaanu herself struggles to let go despite knowing that she has another man in her life. The fuse keeps burning without an end in sight, and that’s what makes it so effective.

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