Karu Palaniappan is the one who you refer to as an unfeigned director. The one who is true to his talent but always underrated. His movies were original and he never compromised for commercial reasons. His last venture Chathurangam although a good thriller sunk in the drain because it was released late and its stars had lost their sheen by then.
Jannal Oram is a remake of 2012 Malayalam movie Ordinary directed by Sugeeth. Possibly, Karu took only the plot point and the environment from the original to create a screenplay. It's about a new bus conductor Subbiah (Vimal) and his driver Karuppu (Parthiban). They drive the only bus service to Pannaikadu from Pazhani every day. They have to stay overnight and take the morning trip back. There are many characters that travel in the bus and live in that small village. During one of the trips, they encounter an incident which forms the crux of the story.
To be honest, Jannal Oram could have been a brilliant 15 minute short movie. The core plot of the movie needs just that time to start, develop and complete. All the three acts of the movie can be completed in that short period of time. Karu tries to establish the characters and it takes lot longer than our comfort zone. This period is spilled with simple humour not over the top comedy scenes that you have been witnessing in the past few months in Tamil Cinema. That's the only saving grace for the movie.
When the characters are established, you expect a conflict that can match the time you have spent investing in these characters but we end up with something so primitive and predictable. That pretty much is the problem of Jannal Oram. Karu Palaniappan always had some strong conflicts in his movies that connects with the audience. Some how he has missed his mojo in Jannal Oram.
Having said that, Jannal Oram has some interesting performances from Parthiban and Vimal. Parthiban with his accent and Jai with his naive make their characters believable. Vimal's love with Kalyani (Manisha) is portrayed in a sweet way. Most of the characters fail to impress and doesn't make much impact. Arbindhu's camera brilliantly portrays the ride between Pazhani and Pannaikadu while Vidyasagar is impressive with Ennadi Ennadi Oviyame but other songs are passable.
It surprised me that Karu Palaniappan chose a waver thin storyline and the whole ride is rutty due to the inability of the screenplay to carry the story along. Probably, he thought that the characterisations might pull off the trick but they failed too. Jannal Oram will be a black dot in the clean sheet of Karu Palaniappan and I hope it's an exception
A painful 1.5/5 for Karu Palaniappan's Jannal Oram. You might not want to take this ride.