Ten minutes later, he is the nicest man in Noida. Not only does he rush to provide urgent medical attention to a badly hurt victim of a road accident, but loses all sleep and spleen following her prompt demise.
Without his swaggering impressions, business is going bust. His cronies are not at all happy about their ringleader’s brand new mopey and mellow personality. ‘Mogamba hai mera bhai. Aur woh bhi aisa jo kabhi khush nahi hota,’ protests one of them in the vain hope he’ll revert back to his old, rowdy, self. Instead, Deol admits to a supernatural presence tidying up his apartment and disposing off all his beer.
Incredulity is expressed, jokes are cracked, folks are suspended mid-air, shrinks are called in, exorcists get sucked inside a spooky chimney, matas and jagratas ensue, kid in the corridor doubles up as host for the ghost and anxious mummy shows up to caution truant beta to bungle only as much as ‘hum afford kar sakein‘ and many a neighbours are dragged and dumped in and out of this mess that is all boo, no show.
How ‘I see dead people’ progresses into ‘I drink cappuccino with dead people’ forms the rest of the plot.
Friendly ghosts are A lot of fun if treated with wit and fascination. Or fodder for philosophy to muse on matters of mortality and the afterlife. Faraz Haider’s Nanu Ki Jaanu — a remake of the acclaimed Tamil flick Pisaasu— neither has the humour to amuse nor the soul to affect.
A wishy-washy hotchpotch of horror and comedy — like the recent Bhootnath, Phillauri and Golmaal Returns — it flounders in finding a harmonious balance between two contrasting genres. And offensive ideas of treating rape as a humour device and resolving domestic violence with a tit-for-tat logic certainly does not help.
A restless spectre with Monica Gellar’s OCD traits is a jolly good idea, but Haider doesn’t explore it in the slightest. What you see are a bunch of haphazardly put together contrivances and gags that are ill matched to Deol’s laid-back vigour and make the usually swell Rajesh Sharma’s grief seem like crocodile tears.
One of the songs in Nanu Ki Jaanu (too many of them actually, another downer) points out at Abhay Deol’s famous uncle in relation to his He-Man stature. It would have served the makers better to remember Dharmendra’s mastery in comedy as well. The veteran’s infectious enthusiasm for silliness is just what his nephew lacks.
Of the remainder, Manu Rishi, Brijendra Kala and Himani Shivpuri do their bits adequately, but Patralekha’s no-show in the trailer is pretty much extended to her existence in the film as well.
When not playing its hammy sentimentality on a loop in a series of daddy-daughter flashbacks or going creepy full throttle, Nanu Ki Jaanu coughs up some unintentional laughs in moments of genuine bizarreness.
There is unusual concern over flouting traffic rules. Driving with mobile phones, without helmets — no wonder it’s set in Noida.
Road rules aren’t all — swachh homes, no smoking, no beer, no beef — Nanu Ki Jaanu hurls all kinds of gyaan at us.
But ‘Paa, main Yamdoot se mili thi‘ beats them all.