Nagesh Kukunoor is known to make films which talk about the spirit of life. His films IQBAL and DOR had his exceptional touch and beautifully captured the various shades of life and its celebration. AASHAYEIN (Hope) is another attempt by the filmmaker on the same lines.
Rahul (John Abraham) wins big time in gambling and announces his retirement (He hardly worked actually). At a party to celebrate his win, he proposes to his girlfriend to Nafisa (Sonal Sehgal). While giving her a kiss, he collapses on the ground. The medical reports reveal he has only a few months to live as he is suffering from lung cancer.
A saddened Rahul comes to know about a hospice and without apprising Nafisa leaves in the middle of the night. At the hospice, he meets a number of people who are spending their last few days. Rahul along with his new friend Padma (Anaitha Nair) now plans to add a little more delight in the lives of the dying people.
AASHAYEIN is noble attempt but is horrendous in its execution. It's an excruciating watch and keeps getting from bad to worse as the clock ticks.
Nagesh has the right intent. But the film gets too abstract to comprehend. While the first half is still passable, The RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK track in the second half is absurd to say the least. Despite a logical reason given for it, it is still difficult to fathom, failing to strike a chord.
The film is nowhere close to the impact Rajesh Khanna's ANAND (there's a scene of it in the film) or the more recent Shahrukh Khan's KAL HO NAA HO created. You are left indifferent for most of the characters.
Copious scenes between Rahul and Padma are well written making you smile. The scene in which she introduces the hospice to John or the one in which they argue over Madhu (Farida Jalal) and conclude 'Kya farak padta hai, hum sab marne wale hai' is fun to watch. However the moments wherein they get intimate are codswallop and make one cringe.
The music by Pritam Chakraborty, Shiraz Uppal and Salim-Sulaiman rocks completely with 'Ab mujko jeena', 'Chala aaya pyaar' and 'Pal mein' being the best of the lot. Even their picturisation is good, going well with the flow of the film. Sudeep Chatterjee's camera work is pleasing.
John Abraham plays his role with honesty. He gets into the skin of the character remarkably. But the star of the film is undoubtedly Anaitha Nair. Her quaint demeanour and liveliness is loveable. The screen lights up whenever she appears. Sonal Sehgal is good in her small role while Farida Jalal is decent.
AASHAYEIN doesn't offer much hope. It only brings Nirashayein.