Nanu Ki Jaanu is a film that resets the viewer’s expectation at every turn. Starting off like a film about the crooked folks of Dilli like Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, this film quickly changes track to become a story about a dead woman’s aatma, only to jump on to the comedy bandwagon tackling issues like fake Ghostbusters and Godwomen. When it looks like the film is a light take on ghosts, it changes tracks once more to include a lover from the other side and an obsessed dad freezing his dead daughter in an ice block. It even covers the evil of distracted driving.
If this feels warped, that is because the movie is. Anand (Abhay Deol) is a conman who steals property from the vulnerable by posing as a tenant. Life is going good for him till he happens to find a hit and run victim on the road (Patralekha). Though the woman, Siddhi, dies she leaves a deep impact on Anand. Suddenly he can’t be the tough guy anymore and finds himself getting emotional and doing the right things. Doing the right things, however is not good for business, so his cronies try to get him out of his “emotional” phase.
Soon Anand starts to feel a ghostly presence, which though clichéd, still has its funny moments. Had the director treated it consistently and not jumped tracks frequently, this film could have been a funny take on the affections of a ghost. But the opportunity is frittered away. Anand turns a sleuth to find out who killed Siddhi. The ghost too, on its part, goes about punishing mean people, whether it be a wife beating neighbor or a young man always out to swindle a few hundred from building residents.
It seems the writers did not know how to close out the story. So without any help or research, our hero solves the puzzle of Siddhi’s death all by himself. Taking the story to an incredulous level, the ghost appears looking as if it transported itself straight from the sets of a Ramsay Brothers’ film of yore. And the climax is unintentionally funny.
I think the sole reason Abhay Deol would have signed this film was because it sounded great on paper. A good actor can only add so much heft to a film which is clearly dead on arrival. As far as his dancing skills go, let’s just say he his right up there with his cousin Sunny Deol. Manu Rishi is in great form and is able to make the viewer amused by his on the spot portrayal of a man with fake bravado. Himani Shivpuri is her usual loud self. Rajesh Sharma’s character, too, is weird and he plays to look like a man whose moral compass has gone wobbly. The biggest let down is Patralekha. She has a single scene where she has to perform and she fails miserably. Her final act made me laugh rather than feel somber.
Nanu Ki Jaanu is like a bus full of people where neither the driver nor the passengers know where they are headed.