Review: John Abraham shines in a washed-out ‘Aashayein’

Spicezee Bureau

After charming his fans with his Greek God looks and toned muscular body, John Abraham undergoes an image makeover for Nagesh Kukunoor’s ‘Aashayein’.

Instead of making typical Bollywood potboilers, Bollywood filmmakers these days are focusing more on real life stories that strike a chord with the audiences. These films are not only probable, but far more acceptable than the three hour fantasy dished out in the name of commercial cinema.

Directed by Nagesh Kukunoor and starring, Sonal Sehgal, Girish Karnad, Anaitha Nair, Farida Jalal and Prateeksha Lonkar, ‘Aashayein’ is a fine example of realistic cinema which tells the story of an ordinary man (John Abraham) who suddenly discovers that he is terminally ill and has a few months to live. Instead of wallowing in hope and cursing his fate, our hero is inspired by the indomitable spirit of life and puts a brave front.

Yet, in spite of charting a brilliant course, ‘Aashayein’ takes recourse to a strange territory, where one can hardly relate to characters. Even though ‘Aashayein’ is a sensitive cinema with numerous heart wrenching moments, one is amazed when the film starts to move away from realism.

Rahul’s (John Abraham) throws a big party to celebrate his win at gambling and proposes to his girlfriend Nafisa (Sonal Sehgal). However, within minutes of his engagement and pearls of laughter, Rahul suddenly collapses on the floor. Post his medical diagnosis, Rahul is shell-shocked as he discovers that he is suffering from lung cancer and has only a few months to live.

Shocked at the sudden change of his fortunes, Rahul quietly leaves for a hospice, without even bidding goodbye to his girlfriend. At the hospice, he meets numerous sick people who have zest for life.

For an instance, ‘Aashayein’ will faintly remind you of Hrishikesh Mukherjee`s cult classic ‘Anand’, an ultimate celluloid experience which traces the strength of human spirit. Even though ‘Aashayein’ is no ‘Anand’, yet, the former could have been much better in case Kukunoor had not deviated from realism.

Once at the hospice, one finds its inmates on a picnic as it lacks the very seriousness of its surroundings.

In terms of acting, John Abraham is a revelation, for the actor moves from his brawny image and shines as an actor. Apart from John, Sonal Sehgal looks good on-screen. Veteran actor Girish Karnad, Farida Jalal and newbie Anaitha Nair are wonderful when it comes to character acting.

Kukunoor is known for his realism and is celebrated for extracting performances. In ‘Aashayein’, he is successful in extracting beautiful performances by all his cast and crew.

John Abraham regales you with his sincere and honest acting, which for once, even shadows his oodles of charisma.

In totality, despite its shoe-string budget, ‘Aashayein’ could have been a decent film had it continued on the plank of realism. Alas, blame is on its storyline!

Ratings: Two cheers for this one!

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