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by : C. Karthik
John Abraham, Sonal Sehgal, Anaitha Nair,
seems a long time back when Aashayein
was announced. The director had his problems
initially. Then there was a tiff between
the producers and the distributors of
the movie. But there was one thing which
Nagesh Kukunoor, the director, always
had. HOPE. And finally his hopes got released
today in theatres across India.
(hopes), starring John Abraham, Anaitha
Nair, Sonal Sehgal and Girish Karnad is Kukunoor's latest
after 8x10 Tasveer. Expectations? Yes, because this
is the very man who gave us Hyderabad blues, Iqbal and
is about how hope transforms the heart and mind of
a young gentleman. Rahul (John Abraham), a gambler,
proposes to marry his girlfriend Nafisa (Sonal Sehgal)
after winning a huge sum of money in gambling. When
all is well, doctors diagnose that he has lung cancer.
Does Rahul cope with the thought of death in his mind?
How does 'hope' play a part in shaping his thoughts?
This is what Aashayein is all about.
The first few shots show John curiously observing
the TV screen puffing and blowing cigarettes away.
We assume he is a gambler (compulsive as the previews
claimed). Being his lucky day, he wins the jackpot
and earns (!!!) a huge amount of money by betting
on an Indian team's loss. He throws a party to his
close ones, proposes to his live-in girlfriend and
faints. Doctors diagnose him of lung cancer which
leaves him in a state of desperation. All the luxury
life he always dreamt of seems to be hanging in the
balance. In typical filmy style, he learns about Hope
foundation and decides to leave his girlfriend. Not
before he leaves her a huge sum of money.
John, with some clothes and lots of money lands at
the hospice which is host to 50 people who are breathing
their last. We see all kinds of characters here. Uncle
Parthasarthi (Girish Karnad), who has throat cancer
and lost his ability to speak. An ex-prostitute Madhu
(Farida Jalal) who is infected with AIDS and treated
as an untouchable by the inmates. A high-octane cancer
patient Padma (Anaitha Nair) and the kid Govinda who,
others presume, has got spiritual powers. Rahul bonds
with all the characters and slowly learns what life
is all about. He fulfills the dreams of the people
around him realising that it is hope which makes us
live, forgetting our worries.
There are very interesting scenes sprinkled throughout
the movie. There are scenes which tugs your heart
and melts you down. But Aashayein never gets preachy
at any point. The reference to Indiana Jones in the
second half which helps John find his path is quite
good. John, fits perfectly as the young Indy. All
these said, the movie does not make a compelling watch.
Though it runs for only 120 mins, we certainly feel
that it is a touch draggy.
Nagesh has always been caught between the realms of
arty and commercial cinema. He may be a wonderful
story teller but somehow fails to give it the touch
it needs to make his movies a must watch. Aashayein
has wonderful moments. Moments which make u feel,
moments which make you realise a lot of things about
life but it fails deliver the magic intended.
The casting is brilliant. John Abraham as Rahul has
lived the character. Be it the man who dreams big,
the man in self-denial, the cancer patient or the
man bonding with the others in the hospice, he has
done absolute justice for his character. So has Sonal
Sehgal. Though she has not much to do in this movie,
her subtle acting adds to the warmth that the director
has intended. Girish Karnaud, as usual, makes his
character as realistic as possible. Farida Jalal,
has been given a small role but she surely evokes
sympathy as the AIDS patient. Ashwin as Govinda is
every bit a child prodigy we can expect. But the biggest
piece of pie goes to Anaitha Nair. Impetuous, obnoxious
and full of life, Padma makes you hate, laugh, cry
and experience love with her. Good job.
Cinematography by Sudeep Chatterjee is quite good
especially in the opening shot. The scenes in the
hospice and the beaches have been captured well. Salim-Sulaiman's
music works most of the time. Songs are loud and spoil
the mood of the movie at times.
Aashayein has its moments of glory but we only hope
there is more. In any case, this is a better watch
than most of brainless Bollywood movies.
Verdict : Aashayein - Despair. Not entirely!
: Aashayein, John
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