Title: Ahista Ahista
Cast: Abhay Deol, Soha Ali Khan, Shayan Munshi
The majority of Abhay's movies seem to be based in Old Delhi, and this was the first of the lot. Ankush (Abhay Deol) is one of the tens (if not hundreds) of unemployed young men who make their living by hanging out at the marriage registrar's bureau (its for real, at: Additional District Magistrate, 14, Darya Ganj, Delhi - 110002), and acting as witnesses to weddings for money.
One day he spots Megha (Soha) looking lost at the bureau. Turns out she has run away from her home in Nainital (in the Uttarkhand hills) to get married to her Dheeraj (Shayan Munshi- argh) her boyfriend. I should add here that I have deep-seated dislike for Mr. Munshi- looks like a bit of a humanoid mosquito, and not a cute one either. Hence my natural dislike for his character.
Ankush does the gentlemanly thing and tries to have her stay at his friend's house for the night, since she has little money and nowhere to go. When that doesn't work out, he spends the night at a dargah with her. Megha has little choice but to agree since she isn't prepared to go home quite yet.
Soon enough, the two begin to rely on each other. Ankush finds Megha a job with accommodation at the local church's old age home. Megha in turn inspires Ankush to get a real job: he is soon employed by a bank as a salesperson, opening bank accounts.
More time passes, and Ankush and Megha begin to fall in love, ahista ahista (slowly slowly).
But when one day Ankush runs into Dheeraj- it turns out Dheeraj was delayed but did follow Megha to Delhi, and has been looking for her.
!!! SPOILER ALERT!!! SKIP TO "PROS" BELOW IF YOU STILL HOPE TO SEE THE MOVIE AND DONT WANT TO KNOW ANY MORE!!!
So of course Ankush does the honorable thing, and brings Dheeraj to Megha. They walk away together, while he- apparently goes back to loitering in front of the bureau- it is indicated, though one hopes he gets over it (like he does in Dev D :D).
- It is impossible not to empathize with Abhay's character in the movie- so charming, so brilliant- he looks back and smiles and wins you over every time.
- The atmosphere- very low key, and in character with lower-middle class Delhi.
- The story and scripting- again, low key and honest- it delivers.
- Its slow, and can drag in parts if you don't enjoy every frame (as I do) that Abhay breathes life into :)
- I have a personal dislike for Shayan Munshi because of his backtracking in the Jessica Lall case. And his acting and voice suck. And he just looks so so- ratty. ughh. I just cant buy that a woman could choose him over Abhay- I know Soha sleepwalks through the movie but her character must have some brains- [sigh].
- Soha can do so much better than she does here- maybe she didn't get enough dialogue (though I dont think so), but she just doesn't deliver enough here.
- Himesh's vocals, though popular, can drive anyone up the wall, and didn't work for either Abhay or Shayan.
- As mentioned before, this was the first of Abhay's Delhi-based movies. It was also in the first wave of Bollywood's current penchant for Delhi locales- what is usual now was very refreshing then.
- Abhay's character here is easily the precursor to his Lucky in Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! The difference of course is that Ankush seems to hanker for reform- and Lucky doesnt- both are utterly charismatic.
- Abhay and Soha do look cute together- I realise now that their appearance in the tentatively titled "Cheers" is bound to be no more than cameo-status, but I look forward to it nevertheless.
- Watch out for singer Sukhwinder Singh's cameo- I think the man really enjoys doing them, but probably doesn't get enough opportunities :D
- Abhay's styling is very important in this movie- he has moved from the madness in Socha Na Tha to where we would find him in subsequent movies- regular clothes that work for him (even though he was totally stying in Dev D). I need hardly add that the improved hair gives me complete satisfaction.
Conclusion: See it- the movie is definitely a stepping stone for all involved: Imtiaz went on to Jab We Met, Soha began to delve deeper in Indies and Abhay began to soar!