What begins as a joy ride, replete with frivolous wisecracks and pertinent one-liners, takes a serious turn, leads to a suspenseful twist and ends in an interesting climax. Jannal Oram (U) works for those who are patient enough to sit through the initial period of inconsequential occurrences.

A happy-go-lucky bus driver Karuppu (Parthepan) and Subbiah (Vemal), the conductor, of a State owned bus operating between the hillside greenery of Pazhani and Pannaikkaadu, enjoy life, the former with his flings and drinks and the latter with some serious love, till they get involved in a bus accident in which a young man loses his life. But it isn’t an open and shut case and things are not as straight as they seem …

Suguna Kumar is the dialogue writer, yet Parthepan seems to have authored his own lines, because they are so typical of the actor-director — astute and lively for the most part. And the problem is Parthepan appears very much aware and proud of his word power — the constant smirk and the speed of the dialogue delivery are giveaways. Spontaneity gets affected in the bargain. In the serious scenes, however, when he has little to say and much to emote, he proves to be the veteran he is. Incidentally, JO has ample doses of scatological humour. Absolutely disgusting!

Vemal has miles to traverse as far as dancing goes. Otherwise his fun takes are fine. A surprise element in the cast is Vidharth. As Saami, a person who talks less and works more, he is apt. Manisha looks very different from Vazhakku Enn … and Aadhalaal Kaadhal Seiveer, Poorna carries off the part of a school teacher whose life is shattered all of a sudden, with élan, and Rajesh returns after quite a while in the dignified role of a distressed dad. If even a minor character — the server at the eatery — makes an impression, it shows Karu. Pazhaniappan’s potential as a director.

Procrastination in the form of scenes such as those involving Kalyani (Manisha) and the foreigners, and the intimidating appearance of the police in the matter are exasperating. How come Karuppu gets drunk on duty, allows the conductor to drive the bus and no evident enquiry is undertaken, either by the police or by the Department concerned? The man isn’t even explicit about his being in the wrong! The character of Parthepan loses its grip at this juncture. So does Karu. Pazhaniappan’s skill at rational treatment!

Incidentally, explaining the relevance of the title was a practice that died eons ago. Or so you thought. But here you hear it elaborated upon at the beginning and at the end! Among Vidyasagar’s songs, the lilting tune of ‘Ennadi Ennadi …’ is a draw. So is his RR for the chase sequences. But screenplay suffers when you have song sequences in rather quick succession.

Pazhaniappan, who made a mark as a creator in Parthiban Kanavu, Pirivom Sandhippom and Sadhurangam, has again made a film with enough substance. Of course, with its share of downsides!

A remake of the Malayalam hit, Ordinary, Jannal Oram does impact. Only that it takes too long for the story to get going.

Genre: Murder mystery

Director: Karu. Pazhaniappan

Cast: Parthepan, Vemal, Vidharth, Poorna, Manisha

Storyline: Circumstances push a bus conductor behind the wheel and what follows is death and chaos!

Bottomline: If you can suffer the initial period of insignificance, the journey is worth your while.