Nagesh Kukunoor disappointed most with his last offering Tasveer 8×10. And to most Kukunoor fans like myself, we certainly hoped he would revive himself next time around especially since he is director to fab films including Dor and Iqbal. A number of actors would line up to work with the renowned director and John Abraham happens to be one of those many. Aashayein became the film that bought the duo together. The film took a bit of extra time to finally release but that didn’t stop the cast from going out and promoting the film in all its grandeur. When you think Kukunoor, you automatically ruminate thoughts of reality, honesty and of course, a story that will make you think. Aashayein promised to make you love life and John Abraham even more than you already did.
Rahul Singh (John Abraham) has only one passion in life: gambling. Beyond placing large wagers, the man has no other meaning or reason for his life; so he believes. After a huge winning one day and proposing to his girlfriend Nafisa (Sonal Chauhan), Rahul faints and is diagnosed with lung cancer. He then realizes that he wants to do away with his life of gambling, hands over his winnings to his girlfriend and leaves for a beachside hospice where he wishes to spend his last few days. It is only at his time in the hospice that he meets an array of people who are all racing against death but manage to teach him valuable life lessons.
Is Aashayein Nagesh Kukunoor’s best work? No, it isn’t. Aashayein shouldn’t be compared to Dor or Iqbal because it is a lot more sensitive. However, that said, Kukunoor’s unique style and execution is evident. Such a touchy subject needs to be handled with careful precision and it takes an incredibly experienced director to be able to come through. Aashayein makes you think about life and responsibilities in a more honest light. Kukunoor clearly understands that Indian audiences are exceedingly emotional when it comes to life and death. With Aashayein, Kukunoor attacks the Indian emotion and connects almost instantly. Whether it’s the script or the sentiments he is trying to emote, he manages to do that with extreme precision and feeling.
The problem with Aashayein is merely that parts of the script hams and is over the top. The dialogues are cheesy, corny and the tears just flow from every angle. Emotion in a film should be subtle. In Aashayein, it is all around which eventually becomes emotion overload. At points the film borders and hovers over being far too fictional making it almost unrealistic. It is this over the top quotient which brings down the script. And then of course, the pace of the film is far too slow. It moves from slow to slower as the death of John’s comes closer.
Aashayein is John Abraham’s shining glory. The actor becomes Rahul Singh with such devotion and perfectionism, it is unfathomable. John Abraham finally comes out with a performance which truly exposes him as an actor. He makes you cry and feel the pain he feels with immense emotion. And as much as the film owns much melodrama, Abraham manages to help the viewer overlook the tear-factor. Finally, he has arrived. Sonal Chauhan shows promise. Anaitha Nair is one to watch out for. Farida Jalal is a disappointment however, as she hams a lot. The young Ashwin Chitale is awesome as the spirited young boy who manages to change the stern Rahul Singh.
In its totality, Aashayein is promising and filled with emotion. The problem with the film is simple: it is emotionally far-fetched and too slow. There are a number of sequences which make you cry and become overwhelmed with emotion. Aashayein should be watched at least once; especially since John Abraham has revealed himself as actor…finally!