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Aashiqui 2 - 2013

Getting me to watch a movie in Hindi is as difficult as taking a horse to water and yet not being able to force it to drink. I say so mainly because I have been fortunate to know some of the significant names that Indian cinema could lay claim to and yet it pains me to say that some of them recycle the old garbage over and over again in newer packages with each new attempt worse than the last, and you have but no recourse than to put on a bogus smile and cheer them on their stupidity. Even then I haven’t yet fathomed how one can cast a 45-year-old in the mould of an 18-year-old college student, or how the lead pair can break into a dance in Switzerland and return to Bombay the very next moment. The irony is that these films that would customarily make us hang our head with embarrassment make millions, and then there are those like Sudhir Mishra, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Aamir Khan, Farhan Akthar, Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra to name some who craft cinema that would put any of these commercial clowns to shame. What’s more? Whilst I am cracking up at the oddity of these atrocious movies raking in the moolah, I am further appalled when I hear the same jokers announce that their junk has been chosen by prestigious libraries and academies across the globe to be included in their study material. When you feel that there is little hope left, Mohit comes along with his profound depiction of one of the finest representation of people on the screen that goes a layer below the skin and enters your bloodstream engulfing you with its brilliance so very quietly, simply.

It is now past twenty-four hours since I have watched Aashiqui 2 and I still find myself quite numb with the stirring influence it has left on me. I know Mohit is a man who is surrounded with some of the best talent that his family has given cinema, but this is the first time I felt that he has grown up and understood human emotions and nature as no one else in his age group has understood with great intelligibility and perfection. It appears that Aditya Roy and Shraddha Kapoor in the hands of Mohit Suri emerge no less like the masterpieces in marble that took shape in the able hands of master sculptors.

Out of thin air people enter our lives and give us all that they have. Sometimes we are caught rather off-guard that we don’t quite know how to welcome their benevolence although we find ourselves flattered by the security of their presence in our lives. Then we are also afraid that we might not be able repay that trust that they seem so easily to have placed in us, and as a consequence end up making a mess of things. At that brink appear people like Aditya Roy who breathe life into a character like Rahul Jaykar by bringing their originality to the role with such élan that you stop a moment, hold your breath, and take cognizance of those around you (like him), who quite ceaselessly provide you ‘their’ light by burning ‘themselves’ into the ether.

Mohit’s films have changed the course of Hindi cinema not only in terms of raising the bar of narratives and melody, but also in how he turned around the dynamics of the business of film making itself by engaging the fairly new in their respective disciplines and yet inspiring them to produce the finest. He gave them the opportunity to do more with less and they never let him down. By virtue of that consequence we were given the man whom I have seen grow, film with every film, and how proud I am of Mohit that he has achieved what many have only strived to. Although I revered most of his radical work in the past, with Aashiqui 2 I reckon he has made life a wee bit tougher for himself, especially when it would come to having to transcend his own genius. However, knowing Mohit I would not be surprised if he were to push his own limit and deliver something that would set the world afire with its sheer skill with his next venture Villain. I say so because I have observed two things about Mohit:

1 – He is a rare figure who understands both sides of the coin: and such a man would rarely ever go wrong merely because he possesses the ability to deliver more than expected of him since he places the highest expectations on himself

2 – He is his own harshest critic: and if you can look into the mirror and accept the truth it throws back at you, you learn not to think anything else but surge forward with righteousness  

I wonder why people sign super stars, celebrity directors, shoot at superb locations, engage A-list music directors of International repute and yet are unable to come close to the poignant approach and attitude that Aashiqui 2 emits. 

When you watch Arohi Keshav Shirke you figure that it is indeed such a misconception that only the finest breeding yields offspring’s of culture and propriety. Like there are exceptions to every rule: in murkier waters grow the prettiest flowers, Arohi is shown to be the savvy, spotless and street-smart woman who handles her life most charmingly. She is a dream any man would want to love and give himself up for. And Rahul Jaykar, with his altruism, evokes in you without prod the notion that love most often comes in unfamiliar packages, and yet to inject positivity to the negative is an accomplishment only the senseless or the saints manage to attain.

The symbol of purity that has been depicted about love in this film is something that no common man can ever attempt to deliver unless he abandons himself ceaselessly in the pursuit of true love and despite all its ups and downs, agreements and disagreements, egos and all, the film upholds a very stoic semblance of timeless positivity.

Another intrinsic aspect of this film was that death must mean nothing to those who are in love, although there would be no words to appease one’s wonder at the stark reality of it. It is incredible, and yet strangely so that the very word death elicits such bitter responses in people when it is inevitable. A chip of the creative block, I don’t find it something of an unusual circumstance since the creative are quite inclined towards the insane, and it is this insanity that lends them the virtuosity that they achieve. If only people could appreciate that one is able to live free when they are free from the obligation of love, and when that love is set free by death, it would make life easy for the people who love us, they would have then perhaps understood the real essence of existence. Unfortunately, in the drama of life, majority of the societies seldom seem to reach such higher standards of intellectual aptitude.  

I loved the manner in which Mohit has handled the rather touchy topic of live-in. It could have turned into a preachy representation otherwise, but hats off to his craft it says everything without a fuss and with such a powerful impact too. That said, I must admit how I loathe the gossipmongers at large, who instead of minding their own business, sniff about to enrage others with their double standards. What bastards I tell you!

There is no thread that one can discount as uncalled for in Aashiqui 2. It looks as if every word has fought hard for its existence, and justifiably so, since the exchanges are like tiny nuggets so marvellously strung into a fine assembly to adorn any neck ready to sport them.

The scene amid Mahesh Thakur (Aditya’s uncle in the film) and Shraddha after they bring Aditya back from the police station is one of the finest I have seen in a long time. The humility with which Aditya stops Shraddha’s mother from joining hands to pay her respect for what he has done for his daughter, or the way in which he nods his head only to emphasise his decision just before he leaves the party after he argues with his friend Vivek (Shaad Randhawa) are simple, but spectacular moments. Then there are those that touch you to the very verge of tears like the one where Aditya asks Shraddha to help him abandon his drinking, or the soul stirring visual representation at the bar where Aditya tells his father (Mahesh Bhatt uncle’s voice) that even though he is lost he is not alone because he loves her like no one else and so does she. Those scenes are to last as landmarks so long as cinema does.

Isn’t it also interesting to note that there are no item numbers? No showcase of booty to lure the dirt? No larger-than-life star casts who can barely act, but genuine actors who can move you beyond words could describe. No melodrama but real life personified on screen, and despite all those ingredients that the trade pundits say are warranted to make a movie a work, this one has made a huger impact on the public and what a momentous feat indeed. Isn’t it lovely how beautifully it shows that a man who can hold onto the love of his life can yet find himself shaken when he finds that indeed his life is finished when certain instances around him (card dishonoured at the bar for example) could (even with him being her rock) still injure his ego. Isn’t it the deepest expression of the insecurity of the creative mind that nearly always thinks ordinary of themselves; and while the world is applauding their gift they are always questioning themselves in order to reach newer heights? Aashiqui 2 tells you that all you have to do is believe in what you are doing and that nothing moves you as simplicity does. It dons every facet of human emotions that possesses the capability to reach into the nucleus of your soul and change you for life, only if you let it.  

The cinematography by Vishnu Rao is befitting and quite in harmony with the tonality and mood of the film. One also has to thank Shagufta Rafique for a lovely story: what are actors without the content that makes them stretch to perform such?

The very fact that the music is on a constant loop in cars, bars, homes, hostels is proof enough that it has struck the right cord in the desired nomenclatures. The lyrics are eloquent and dainty; something that is the hallmark of Mohit’s movies. The delicacy of the language will imprint itself on your heart and stay there forever and that is a guarantee that even a layman would give you when he has been acquainted with the poesy in the stanzas. Interestingly, this soundtrack has left the same effect on my heart and soul that the stellar soundtrack of Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee had left years ago.

Aditya Roy
Adi is natural. He is innocent. He is incredibly talented. He is an original in an era so bursting with artistes who rely purely on histrionics or weak mimicry. He makes room in your heart with his honesty. He quashes all claims that training is the hallmark of good talent because other than working on polishing his diction he is an acteur naturel. Training no doubt polishes you, but the ones who are born with talent seldom need training to prove their talent and Adi seems the brightest and steadiest entrant to establish that fact. I wish he could have brought some more angst to his eyes in certain scenes though; then again I admire the personal touches he has brought to his role overall, as well as the naïve tonality to his emoting prowess that makes you fall in love with him instantaneously. The childlike manner that he reflects on the screen and off it makes you want to hug him and say – Adi, my dear Adi, you my bro, are by far clearly the best that the industry has seen in a long time.

He reminds me much of my buddy, another refined actor and fantastic human being Akshay Oberoi. They look as if they were brothers and I so wish they were brothers.

Shraddha Kapoor

When I was in school I remember how Shakti Kapoor had left an unmistakable mark on my mind by the amazingly hilarious role he had played in the movie Andaaz Apna Apna, and now to see his pretty daughter having grown up into this sophisticated, gifted and delicate beauty gives me immense joy. I don’t know what the others might think of her, but I think that she is here to stay and nothing can come in the way of her growth because she is a livewire of talent than mere gorgeousness. Her body language is poetic. She seems a bit shy, but I reckon that with time she will relax. The elegance with which she has approached the delivery of the dialogues is adorable. She has an inborn flair to make people fall in love with her without effort.

It has been said that time heals all wounds and what bollocks. Neither the pain nor the wounds fade. The mind, in order to protect its sanity pretends to cover them in time, with the scar tissue so that it only lessens, and that’s what happens: it lessens, but is never erased, and these emotions she portrays with such ease.

Finally, when you see the steadiness in the connection between Rahul and Arohi it is tough to make a correct assessment of the prodigy that Mohit has brought to the film. Life. Love. Trust. Friendship. Respect. Selfishness. Selflessness are merely keywords that cannot and will not sum up a film like this so long as those who know what to draw from it can draw from it. It is like a drug that if you once taste, you will find yourself addicted to. People like Rahul and Arohi are a rarity, but they are not impossible to stumble upon. I know of some such who will wipe their slates clean for the sake of the ones they love, but the problem is that the rest of us are so very lost in our own worlds that we fail to grasp that the ones who are giving away their life to us are also those who are in some corner of their heart and mind silently screaming for help.