Once upon a time there was a director who served as an inspiration. He quit his well paying engineering job in USA and headed back to India to do something he wanted – tell stories through film. His first film Hyderabad Blues become a part of Bollywood folklore, made at a mere budget of 17 lakh and going on to become super popular. I am talking about Nagesh Kukunoor. Since then Nagesh went to become a name who made superb films like Rockford, Iqbal, Dor and Teen Deewarein. And he became an example of storytelling sans stars…
His life was inspiring a tale enough to tell people that they should get into what they want to do, without losing time. However he chose to make another film called Aasheyein to send across the same message. Sadly, nothing came through except disappointment.
To start with Nagesh did have an idea. An idea that was probably rooted in his liking for Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anand and this he even displays in the film as his characters watch the film. Nagesh tries to weave in the message of ‘living your live to the fullest’ into ‘fulfill your dreams and help others do the same’. Unfortunately while Mukherjee kept things simple and drove home his message, Nagesh got caught in his own web of thoughts and resulting in no clarity in the end results.
The film is a story of 35-year old Rahul (John Abraham) who finds out that he has lungs cancer right after he proposes marriage to his girlfriend. He is shattered and decides to leave her. He reaches a charity-care home in Pondicherry where many other terminally ill patients live. While he seeks to live his remaining life in peace, he sees gloom of death around.
And Aashayein goes for a toss
Everything goes fine till here. And Then Nagesh loses it. He meddles into symbolism that does not work out and leaves the audiences wondering what happened. The screenplay goes haywire. When all he needed to do was create a source of inspiration the director gets into fantasy and incomplete childhood desires, coupled with a hallucinating protagonist. And the story drags.
The film does have its pluses. For one the characters are lively but their backgrounds are not written well. Girish Karnad and Farida Jalal have interesting characters and play their roles well but hardly make a difference to the story. Little boy Ashwin does a good job but his characters is misunderstood. Anaitha Nair who plays Padma gets a great role and she plays it to the optimum proving momentary relief to the audience whenever she is on screen. The film has been shot well and the music works very well. The title track in the only that will stay with you post the movie.
John Abraham does a decent job but his character is as confusing as the message that Nagesh tried to convey.
Aashayein is a tremendous let down on hope for a good movie. All through the promotions the director and lead actor kept saying that this movie will leave the audience with a smile. And that’s precisely what it failed to do. I for one was bewildered and bored at the same time! It’s probably time Nagesh takes a break. Aashayein… that he will come back refreshed!