Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Review: "Aashayein" (No Smoking???)

AASHAYEIN (2010) [आशायें]

Director: Nagesh Kukunoor
Screenplay: Nagesh Kukunoor
Starring: John Abraham, Sonal Sehgal, Anaitha Nair
Plot: Just after winning a fortune via betting, Rahul is diagnosed of having longue cancer. He decides to leave his girlfriend and heads to a hospice situated at the sea. There he meets many different persons, for example a HIV-positive ex-prostitute, the cute little boy Govinda and Padma, a 17 year old girl with blood cancer. What happens then? Good question. Actually: Not much.

Written the 3rd of January 2011

Can you hear me yawn? I'v generously sacrificed my nocturnal hours for giving this movie a chance to entertain me, and what do I get in return: Boredom spiced with a handful of good actors and passable songs.

Still, “Aashayein” has its moments and is at times well entertaining. This is mostly obtained with the help of above-named good actors and music.
"Don't smoke!" - Message of the movie? 

John Abraham, who in the lately tries to establish himself as an actor for challenging roles, makes a good job of it and is able of expressing a wide rang of feelings: In the beginning he's airily and casual, but a little later, the distress and panic, caused by the disease, come through.Furthermore, his presentation never seems melodramatic or exaggerated – except for the Indiana Jones sequences, which were too abstruse for me. But that wasn't John's fault. Off course, he looks splendid as always and is even allowed to melt the hearts of two women. One of the hearts belongs to Padma, played by Anaitha Nair, who already caught my attention in “Chak De India”. She's one of the newcomers we should keep an eye on, especially because we don't have to worry about overdressed, trivial role choices. In my last review (“Dil Chahta Hai”), I already mentioned the problem of too many films pairing a too young heroine with an older hero. It is like that in this film, but the subject is at the same time being given more attention than in other films, and also provokes more, as the audience is somehow hoping for something to happen between the two of them. An interesting sensing of the borders, which I, just like in “Nishabd”, liked very much. “Aashayein” also offers some decent supporting actors, such as Farida Jalal and Sonal Sehgal, who indeed aren't too important, but at least they don't annoy.

Why is she doing on the poster?
Biggest problem of the film is in my book simply the script. It has several flaws and it's just that factor, that mostly destroys a film experience for me. (More about that here). The film is concerned with two not easy subjects: death and disease. A film about those two things has to walk a tightrope: on one hand, it has to show the earnestness of these factors and be realistic. But on the other hand, it needs to add a certain amount of hope, filmic freedom and humour. Finding the balance between those can be very difficult, and in my mind, this is where “Aashayein” fails. The humor is at times funny, at others though too black and acid-tongued. Concerning the subject of disease and death, I have two opinions about that. The diseases of the hospice residents proceed in a very realistic way, but some other scenes seemed very crass and particularly unrealistic to me. 1) Without answering back for a long time, a nurse gives euthanasia to one of the patients, and after she's passed away smiling, the subjects is never taken up again, nor is the sister in any ways being sued. 2) The Indiana Jones scenes. I already mentioned them, and they were just needless. They could just have been leaved out and instead, Govinda, who narrates the story, could have been shown. This resolution would have raised the level.

I also didn't like the end. Just as in thousands of other films, the makers have not understood the difference of an appropriate happy-end and it should be made. And finally, the mentioned boredom... To everyone who has in mind to watch this film, I can only recommend listening to the song “Aashayein” from “Iqbal”. It is more exciting, more sensitive and if you still don't like it, you don't have to suffer for a long time.

Rating: 3.9

Thank you for reading my review,
Mette M. K.

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