Review - Aashayein: Sad demise of a good soul
Aashayein gives John Abraham loads of scope to emote and he manages a bit here and a bit there. But looks like the actors, writer/director, Nagesh Kukunoor and thus the audience lose it as the movie slogs along to the end. The metaphors are thrown at your face and explained in excruciating detail. And yet you don't know why the director/writer did what they did.
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Aashayein stars 50 people whose days are numbered by some fatal disease. Almost all have come to terms with it. Some smile artificially. And a handful spit venom. How they coexist and come to love each other is what Aashayein could have been about. And I agree, that would have been plain boring and the base story needed something additional and Nagesh Kukunoor has that on the platter too. Just that the spoon-feeding of how and why it is different didn't entirely appeal to my taste buds. And of course they went berserk with the "metaphors" as the end approached too.
Symbolism remains symbolism if it's left to interpretation. Some parts of the film feel like a 'Metaphor 101' class, to teach us, the ignorant audience, the basics of film-reading. It is very painful to see a double and triple display of what the writer meant by showing a particular sub-pot, as if to make sure that even those in the audience dozing don't miss it. I was in awe when some of the metaphorical stuff started. But they rub it in too much and the charm goes away. Oh and, it becomes more and more ridiculous. So, it ends up making you laugh instead of making you think.
Also the writer makes things unnecessarily awkward too often. Usually, I blame the execution for the uneasiness the actors/director felt in a particular scene. But, here the writing felt forced and you could sense how hard the script had to go against its nature to make room for a 'different' situation/action/reaction. A simple thing like a hug between two characters came across as if one of them is being forced into it.
It almost felt like the writer was on an emotional up and down. He has created this world with different characters and their quirks. He digs a little deep into their emotions, panics at what he sees (also panics at this perception of the audience's reaction) and surfaces to breathe. And this jagged script becomes a pain to swallow. And all you remember is that pain and forget some of the most beautiful moments and relationships that he creates.
Anyway. There is a takeaway from the film. Anaitha Nair, this little girl was the life of the film. She played the blunt, toxic, vulnerable, teenager Padma so casually, that you feel compassion towards her wicked character. Exactly what you are supposed to feel for her. That doesn't mean John Abraham didn't do well. It's just that, if a man is dying you are supposed to feel sorry for him, not drool at him. Emotions don't particularly show up very well when he tries them on. But the man tries hard, only problem is the effort is too transparent.
A touch of humor in the dialogues, the songs, especially the lyrics, and some of the close-up shots also go into the "saving grace" list. But...
With a heavy heart, I have to say Nagesh Kukunoor doesn't crack it with Aashayein either. I wouldn't say the film starts off well. It has its share of cliché's, badly written scenes. Like the rest of the film, the beginning too, escapes under the guise of calling the action/dialogue filmy and doing it anyway. But there are glimpses of above-average thought - both qualitatively and quantitatively - being put into some of the scenes. There is hint of a soul and as fate would have it, the hope dies as the post interval period starts.
- meeta, a part of the audience
- Violence: None
- Language: Abusive language here and there
- Nudity & Sexual content: A making out scene, a couple of kisses and a teenager doing some aggressive flirting with an adult.
- Concept: That of living life before dying.
- General Look and Feel: Bright and cheerful in the face of death.
Aashayein - Movie Details
- Banner: Percept Picture Company
- Producer: Percept Picture Company, T Series
- Director: Nagesh Kukunoor
- Lead Cast: John Abraham, Sonal Sehgal, Prateeksha Lonkar
- Supporting Cast: Anaitha Nair, Girish Karnad, Vikram Inamdar, Farida Jalal, Ashwin Chitale, Sonali Sachdev, Sharad Wagh
- Story: Nagesh Kukunoor
- Screenplay: Nagesh Kukunoor
- Dialogues: Nagesh Kukunoor, Nagesh Kukunoor
- Cinematography: Sudeep Chaterjee, Sudeep Chaterjee, Sudeep Chaterjee
- Editor: Apurva Asrani, Sanjib Datta
- Background Score: Sulaiman Merchant, Salim Merchant
- Music Director: Pritam Chakraborty, Shiraz Ahmed, Sulaiman Merchant, Salim Merchant
- Lyrics: Sameer, Kumaar, Shakeel Sohail, Mir Ali Hussain
- Running time: 120 minutes
- Reviewer: meeta
- Language: Hindi
- Country: India
- Genres: Philosophy