Laughably horrific

Daniyal Zahid is impressed only by the film's ability to waste the acting talent that it was able to muster

Laughably horrific
The greatest crime of Nanu ki Jaanu isn’t the fact that it is a horrendous mockery of filmmaking. It isn’t even the fact that it is often cringe-worthy, and manages to incorporate glaringly pertinent societal issues in its ghastly exhibits.

It is not even the fact that it manages to make a hotchpotch of genres as disjointed as horror, comedy and whodunit. Or the unpalatable reality that it has absolutely pulverised the 2014 super-hit that the Tamil film Pisaasu– of which it is a remake – was.

What is unforgivably criminal here is that the film has managed to do all that with Abhay Deol, Manu Rishi, Patralekhaa, Rajesh Sharma and Himani Shivpuri as the cast. With Abhay Deol and Manu Rishi, the film clearly throws an Oye Lucky Lucky Oye bait to the viewers who might be among the many fans of the 2008 cult hit.

To put it simply – something Nani ki Jaanu should’ve given a shot as well – the film is anything but Oye Lucky Lucky Oye.

Abhay Deol visibly shows physical discomfort on the screen - clearly outlining his reluctance in being a part of the shambles that he is perfectly aware is being played out on the screen

Nanu (Abhay Deol) personifies quasi land mafia, taking over flats by harassing the landlords for sport. One day he is inadvertently part of a road accident wherein Siddhi (Patralekhaa) gets critically injured.

As Bollywood’s quintessential ‘bad guy with good heart’ character, Nanu tries to save her life and takes her to the hospital, en route to which Siddhi manages to fall in love with him as well.

Yes, in the middle of an accident that is all but certain to take her life, the leading lady finds romance. That could be the reason why she eventually dies – or is it? Because it the answer to this question on which much of the second half of the film hinges, and it evolves from a farcical farce to horrific horror show to a laughable attempt at comedy.

Siddhi does die before reaching the hospital, with her dad (Rajesh Sharma) in such a shock that he refuses to believe his daughter is dead, hence deciding to keep her dead body in an ice slab. That is where the horror bit comes in, because Siddhi’s spirit begins to haunt Nanu.

Abhay Deol and Patralekhaa in 'Nanu Ki Jaanu'

Nanu does all he could to get rid of the ghost – until Siddhi’s tell-all appearance.

This is Abhay Deol’s first movie since 2016’s Happy Bhag Jayegi, which compared to Nanu ki Jaanu exists in a similarly supernatural physical dimension. What is especially troubling, especially for his fans – and even those close to him, one would have to say – is the visible physical discomfort that the actor manifests on the screen, clearly outlining his reluctance in being a part of the shambles that he is perfectly aware is being played out on the screen.

He does not have a script in any tangible shape, with the filmmakers confident that throwing a ghost and a land-grabbing thug in the same space would result in fear, laughs and suspense, as and when they will.

Although to be fair, the film does manage to deliver all those human experiences, but not when it would have wanted to and definitely not to the intended audience.

Abhay Deol and Sapna Choudhary

But yes, it’s not just Abhay Deol that the film makes an absolute mockery of. Rajesh Sharma and Himani Shivpuri endure the masochistic experience as well. Patralekhaa would have probably settled for one of those roles where the leading lady has minimal screen time – but unfortunately, she is the ghost that has to hover in the background at all times, as the filmmakers live out their delusions, which have come crashing down since the film’s release.

Is the music at least worth a one-time listen? Oh you wish!