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Aashayein review: This one is full of niraashayein

Aashayein review: This one is full of niraashayein

Source: General

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Friday 27 August 2010

Movie Title

Aashayein review: This one is full of niraashayein

Director

Nagesh Kukunoor

Star Cast

John Abraham, Sonal Sehgal, Anaitha Nair, Girish Karnad, Farida Jalal, Prateeksha Lonkar

What?s up with Nagesh Kukunoor? His name?s a brand, one that sells us cinema that?s subversive, thought-provoking and identifiable - think Hyderabad Blues, Teen Deewarenin, Dor and Iqbal.

Where did this Nagesh Kukunoor Ki Aag pop in from? The questions are never-ending, and plagued this writer though the length of this utterly glum film.

The premise, for example, is centred around a hospice, where terminally ill people can spend their last days. Predictably, it?s a diverse bunch and Kukunoor chooses from the bottom barrel of clich?d characters. Sample this: John Abraham plays Rahul who learns he has lung cancer the day he wins three crores in a betting game.

Then there?s Farida Jalal who?s an ex-prostitute (she calls herself a vaishya operating from a 5-star hotel), an uncle whose family is estranged, and a child made to smile and smile to show off the buck teeth.

The only bright spark is Padma (Anaitha Nair, Chak De! India, Well Done Abba), a spoilt brat of a teen, who develops a warm friendship with our hero (also quite predictable).

There?s not much cinematic thrill at watching the institution?s head Sister Grace (Prateeksha Lonkar) and volunteers walk around in white sarees (perhaps to cheer up the terminally ill folks). It?s also no fun watching the repetitive interactions between the same two-and-a-half characters. You?re bored to tears as yet again someone asks formally, ?kya hum andar aa sakte hain?, `kya mein yahan baith sakti hoon?.

Then the dialogue turns bizarre, but that?s only in keeping with the proceedings on screen. Characters are subjected to chalky faces and black eyes to make their `bhoot? versions straight out of a school play. You might want to know what these ghosts are doing in the serene environs of the hospice. They?re actually part of Rahul?s dream, his secret fantasy, inspired as he is by Indiana Jones. But this character?s tedious imagination is subjected on the viewer time and again.

The film is replete with shameful manipulations. On his first visit to the hospice, for instance, Rahul looks at a little girl on a stretcher and is warmed by her smile; the next thing you know, she?s kicked the bucket leading our hero to have a cinematic pensive moment.

The other kid,meanwhile, the buck-toothed one, continues smiling as per the director?s instructions, and now even feeds our hero mangoes.

There are developments that take place during the finale that escaped the understanding of this writer: something about the fountain of life, and a resort in the Himalayas. And there is a scene where the hero actually goes around frolicking and splashing about in the hospice?s fountain, which is supposed to have a connection.

One can say nice things about performances by Abraham and Nair, but their genuine efforts are drowned deep into the peculiarity of the film.

There?s nothing you can take from this film. You can?t munch popcorn when you see people dying or about to. You can?t understand what the film?s trying to say (it isn?t saying anything, that?s why), so you?re not sure why you should be subjected to this depressing subject in the first place.

So no entertainment, no message, no perspective, no great story. This one is full of niraashayein.

Rating: ? star

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