OK Kanmani: Mani Ratnam gets it all wrong



Starring: Dulquer Salman, Nitya Menon, Prakash Raj and Leela Samson

Director: Mani Ratnam

Music: A. R. Rehman

Cinematography: P.C. Shreeram

Stars: 2.5


Our generation is one perpetually suffering from nostalgia and when it comes to Mani Ratnam films it’s as important as the Onam celebrations back home. That is precisely why I dashed into the cinema hall massively worried about missing the start of Mani Ratnam’s latest OK Kanmani.

Mani Ratnam’s recent addition to the romance genre, however, jolted me awake from the slumber of nostalgia, just like love did after I grew up. In my teen years, the idea of being passionately in love while being reckless about thwarting societal norms seemed so exciting. Today, as a 20 something, I understand the nitty-gritties of being a part of a generation that is independent but dependent. We are stuck and free and in fact, we have no clue about negotiating the gap with our parents or about making choices for ourselves. We are also wondering how to break it to our parents. When can we tell them that we are doing everything that they never thought of in their college years? Or better still, when will our parents stop stereotyping us into one bracket?

In a sense, Mani Ratnam (like our parents) has attempted to understand our generation with whatever little that came his way in OK Kanmani. So, before I venture into slicing the movie into a single line, I must inform all of you, that he has gotten it wrong like our folks do when they sum us up as ‘reckless and shameless’.

So, the story goes like this.  Adi (Dulquer Salman) and Tara (Nitya Menon) do not believe in marriage and babies, but then they do. The movie ends, credits roll and I am left flabbergasted and old.

The movie has its moments. But, it is so unbelievable. Sample this: They are Hindus and their parents are well-off. They have good jobs. They get a space to live-in, because Tara managed to sing a semi-classical song so well that the Brahmin landlord and his wife are practically seduced. I mean, in short, their conundrum in life is, marriage. And, even that, they succumb to, because you know, according to the gods above, a live-in does not sustain even if it is long distance. But, a marriage does.

So, the moral of the story goes like this: Puke all over marriage while you stay in a live-in. Once you know that you are going to part ways, get hitched. Remember, the mangalsutra/thaali saves your love for the long haul.

In terms of music, I am quite fine with it. But, the background score was annoying. I mean, to show how uber-cool the couple is, there were these weird twangs and dwangs which I could not reconcile with. Performance wise, Dulquer and Nitya played themselves for the umpteenth time and looked ‘cute’. Leela Samson as Bhavani complements Prakash Raj’s character perfectly.

Overall OK Kanmani, is ok and it is not a landmark movie. But, it will keep hearts soaring because people love candy-floss upper-class endogamous romance.

P.S: Mani Ratnam’s wife Suhasini was reported to have said that people who have no knowledge of movies must abstain from reviewing OK. This writer believes that it is time that Suhasini realizes that an average movie like OK Kanmani does not need an experienced filmmakers’s skills behind it.


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