Horror-comedies, when done right, can elicit all the laughs even while scaring the bejesus out of you. Adding a romantic angle to it might be tricky but not too difficult to pull off. However, when you add typical Punjabi music beats as background music, resorting to cheap theatrics to portray a vengeful ghost, and a lead actor who would much rather be somewhere else, there’s little to recommend then.
A woman dies in the arms of the man who takes her to a hospital, and, a few scares later, they fall in love. He, predictably, vows to find the person who caused her accident while also significantly changing himself because, much like most man-children, he comes of age when in love.
This was perhaps the peg Abhay Deol and Patralekha were given when they chose to sign up for Nanu Ki Jaanu, a film devoid of logic and heart. It’s hard to imagine two good actors getting on board for this film out of their own volition.
Nanu (Deol) and his motley crew are professional property grabbers and prowl the sectors in Noida for good apartments owned by old folks. A hot-headed man, Nanu drives past a woman, Siddhi (Patralekha), lying in a pool of blood on the road. When she dies before him, he is disturbed by the events. Simultaneously, strange things happen to him at his apartment. Lights flicker, beer bottles are broken, and his kitchen’s chimney houses a ghost straight out of The Grudge.
Mishaps and several comedy sequences later, the ghost of Siddhi and he fall in love, but how long can romance be in the air for a human and a ghost anyway?
At one point in Faraz Haider’s directorial debut, one can catch Deol literally yawning away his dialogue for what would ideally have been an intense scene. And if it’s not appearing as though he could really use a nap any time now, he does a half-hearted dance during the first few minutes of the film. You can’t blame him though, especially upon closer inspection. The scenes were deliberately made to entertain as opposed to tell a story.
Soon enough, you get tired of watching Deol, considering the entire film focuses on him and his reaction to the ghost’s antics. Granted he’s a good actor, but one cannot fathom what really convinced him to choose this half-baked script.
Patralekha, ostensibly billed as the female lead, features nowhere except somewhere in the beginning and somewhere towards the end. Her dialogues, too, are forgettable, with her background story often told by her father (Rajesh Sharma) or flashback sequences. It’s a pity that a good actress like her is literally turned to mist in a film whose title refers to her. While she does try to make use of whatever little screen time she gets, it’s mighty unfair to watch her be the only one trying hard while other characters around her disinterestedly mouth better-written dialogues.
The film is reportedly a remake of the Tamil film Pisaasu (2014), a terrific gothic horror that set the bar pretty high in the genre. The film, often regarded as one of Mysskin’s best, has music in sync with its dark plot incorporating unpredictable jumpscares and an intriguing set of characters.
In all possibilities, Nanu Ki Jaanu is a huge disservice to the original, to the genre, and its supposed female lead with a less than a ten-minute appearance.
The Nanu Ki Jaanu review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.