I am still debating in my mind about how much I liked Aashiqui 2. I liked it a lot but did not love it. I will not watch it again I think. There was an air of predictability and been-there-done-that kind of feeling but what surprised me was some hidden subtexts and some subtleties in the writing. I have not seen the original Aashiqui starring Rahul Roy and Anu Kapoor. I do not know much about that film except the famous song ‘bas ik sanam chahiye aashiqui le liye’. In Aashiqui 2, the lead actors are: Aditya Roy Kapur - playing Rahul, a singer, who once had reached the pinnacle of success but is now on the path to self-destruction due to his addiction to alcohol – and Shradha Kapoor - playing Aarohi, a talented singer who is noticed by Rahul in a beer bar and wants to help her become famous. I have to say there is terrific chemistry between the lead pair. They both are hot and light up the screen with their scenes. They do not engage in much physical intimacy in the film and yet they are able to effectively portray their love for each other.
The scene of the first meeting between the two of them gave an indication of the sign of the things to come. Rahul is driving drunk and sees Aarohi walking on the road. In order to save her, he rams the car into the sidewalk, and in the moment, the vegetables that Aarohi is carrying are all scattered on the road. She scolds him, not realizing that he is the famous Rahul and asks him to collect the vegetables and put them back. She asks him to pick up the vegetables even the ones under his car, making him bend down. Rahul tries a lot but is unable to reach them. She then says to him to leave them as “vo khane ke layak nahi rahe ab”. From that scene, the director tells us that Aarohi will make Rahul collect the remaining pieces of his life and she doesn’t let go of things till the point there is no hope that they can be salvaged back.
Now, Rahul goes to a beer bar where he is mesmerized by Aarohi’s singing of one of his own songs. I felt a Taal moment. Remember that scene when Mansi and her dad, Tara Babu, for the first time see Vikrant doing a rendition of one of Tara Babu’s own song – Taal Se Taal Mila. Anyways, in that scene, Aarohi is longingly looking towards the portrait of Lata Mangeshkar. The portrait is directly behind Rahul’s seat. At first I thought she is looking at him but I think it was very intentional on the part of the director to place the portrait just behind Rahul, giving us another indication that for Aarohi to reach that path of success, she will first have to cross Rahul. There is technique that we all have noticed that once the thing in the front is in focus, the one behind isn’t and vice-versa. Was it intentional on the part of director as he wanted to show she will have to choose either of Rahul or her career, given that only one could be in her zone of focus?
Lata ji or Rahul?
What I also really liked was the scene when they both confessed their love for each other. The first time when Rahul says, they both are standing separated by a glass door as if there is some sort of a barrier between the two of them. The first time when Aarohi says, they both are sitting on the opposite sides of a big door where they cannot see each other and are crying. The transparent door, where at least the light could pass through, turned into something opaque. And again, in the final scene when they are bidding good byes, the window is transparent but the distance between Rahul and the window is much more, whereas Aarohi is still standing very close to the window - symbolic of the distance that Rahul had moved further and further away while Aarohi still wanted to salvage the relationship.
You remember in DevD, how Paro came to Dev’s house and she cleaned his house, she gives him a bath and cleans him? Similarly, Aarohi acts like a mother to him. Rahul is a spoilt child, lost in his world. I personally felt that her love for Rahul was like a mother for her son’s. She cleans him, she shaves his face, and she takes care of him, trying to remove all the dirt that he has landed himself into. At the risk of sounding incestuous, in their pre-coital embrace, she is the one who stretches her hand, calling him into her arms. In fact, in one of the scenes, Rahul is shown sleeping (when he is pretending), slouched just like a kid and she puts a blanket over him. Maybe he was looking for the closeness as from a family. Never once we are shown his dad, who is working in New York. All we see in the film are two phone calls he makes. The physical distance between his parents (no idea about mother) was as huge as the emotional distance, even though his father could identify that his son is in love, just by listening to his voice.
In one scene, Aarohi says that she will herself embrace alcoholism because she wants to travel with Rahul wherever he goes. He will take her. This was so reminiscent of Choti Bahu in Sahib, Biwi aur Ghulam. To get her husband to love her, Choti Bahu (Meena Kumari) started drinking herself so that the two of them could at least share a drink together.
Aarohi was madly in love with Rahul and as they say, you never leave the people whom you love. She was a testament to that. In that scene, when she is enacting that they both are in a stadium and she is taking Rahul’s name to cheer him up, she eventually gets tired and starts panting but never stops it till the point Rahul sees her tired. He then starts singing. Later, Rahul would see her taking off her jewelry in the police station. Rahul, perhaps, realized that she is going to lose all the things that make her pretty because of him and maybe that is why he starts to make his plans to move further away from her.
I do not know maybe I am thinking too much but one common characteristic that Aarohi was shown to have was that she was very risk averse in her life and it actually quite fits her given her economic hardships. Earlier in the film, when Rahul comes to clear the misunderstanding they had, she says to him, main dobara risk nahi lungi. At one later point in the film, when they both had run away, she says to Rahul that main tumhe chhodne ka risk nahi le sakti. Also, in that scene, when she explains to Rahul’s uncle that main bada zaroor banna chahti thi lekin itni badi keemat de kar nahi. Finally, during the climax, she is shown to be bubble wrapping her things, giving us yet another indication that she just doesn’t take risks in life. Perhaps that might explain her decision to leave everything, because she was scared that she will lose everything if Rahul is not with her. If I was in her place, I would never do that. Wasn’t it her dream to be where she was? But as they say it is lonely at the top. She was scared that she will not be able to survive. Maybe she was hoping that by staying together she will cure him and then they can come back again. Or as she said, when she was going through a difficult time, Rahul was with her and when he is going through the same, she should be there for him too. Or as SRK brilliantly puts it in Luck By Chance, unhe mat bhoolo jo tumhe tab jaante the, jab tum kuch nahi the.
I think a lot of criticism was given to Rahul that he is an addict. But somehow, and they say it many times in the film as well, Aarohi too had an addiction. Her addiction for Rahul. Rahul lost everything due to his own follies and in a way, Aarohi was doing the same. So, should we not judge Aarohi as heartlessly as Rahul? We do not because we see her reasons for doing so. Actually, the thing that frustrated me was they never showed any background story of Rahul. Why did he turn out this way? In Rockstar, Jordan had angst against Heer. But what happened here? Any indication would have tried to fit the pieces as to how did he get on the path to self-destruction? Why did he say, jinhe kuch nahi chahiye hota, vo apna kaam bahut zimmedari se karte hain? At one point he says, main is shor se door jana jata hun. Why? He loved music. Did stardom fail him? Was his loneliness? I do not know.
I loved this scene – when he opens her wallet and sees a picture of them together. Do people still keep pictures of their significant ones?
At one point, Aarohi’s mom keeps her mangalsutra as a mortgage but later we see she is wearing the same one. Goof-up? :-) Perhaps they shot that scene earlier and placed it later in the film.
In fact, her mom’s character was very good. It made me sad where they show she buys lottery tickets, just in case her luck might run.
One thing that I completely disliked was the conversation the two men were having about Aarohi when she wins the award and Rahul is sitting next to them. They actually told what is going to happen next in the film. It was irritating. All the while I was hoping that maybe it won’t be true. But those guys spoiled the film for me. It was a big letdown. Why give your film’s story at interval?
Music is excellent. I do not remember the lyrics of the songs. Sun Raha Hai Na Tu is beautiful. They are brilliantly staged and executed. And the voice is perfect – filled with anger conveying the right emotions. But Shreya Goshal’s voice is just mind blowing. Her voice has a very charming quality, like a river flowing smoothly.
Somehow, when the songs were playing, I was thrilled. I was imagining that how great would that feeling be when all in the audience are screaming your name. No doubt, as SRK again says in Luck By Chance, stardom ek cocktail hai.
Love love love it :)
Aashiqui 2 is not perfect but there are enough things about it that one can admire. Or just simply look at the hot people on the screen and listen to the music.
Diaologue (s) of the Day:
Aksar chiraag vahi bujhaate hain jo use roshan karte hai
- Aashiqui 2
Beemar ke saath koi beemar nahi ho jata.
- Saigal Uncle, Aashiqui 2
Aarohi: Chaand ki taraf to sabhi dekhte hain, usse kya hota hai?
Rahul: Shuruaat, har kamyaab safar ki..