April 15, 2009

Ahista Ahista (2006)

Abhay's second movie, Ahista Ahista followed a year after Socha Na Tha,and is an important indication of Abhay's inclination towards indies. The big-movie spectacular of his first movie was gone, and in its place was a small, yet significant movie, which I agree with Beth, is a forerunner to Saawariya, (which movie I have been unable to appreciate much, to put it politely). It is also interesting that Imtiaz wrote this as well as Socha ... , and later Jab We Met- the similarities make me wonder if he keeps writing stories around the same basic theme- his next, "Love Aaj Kal" due later this year should help clarify that.

Title: Ahista Ahista
Year: 2006
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).

Pros:
  1. 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.
  2. The atmosphere- very low key, and in character with lower-middle class Delhi.
  3. The story and scripting- again, low key and honest- it delivers.
Cons:
  1. Its slow, and can drag in parts if you don't enjoy every frame (as I do) that Abhay breathes life into :)
  2. 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].
  3. 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.
  4. Himesh's vocals, though popular, can drive anyone up the wall, and didn't work for either Abhay or Shayan.
Notes:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Watch out for singer Sukhwinder Singh's cameo- I think the man really enjoys doing them, but probably doesn't get enough opportunities :D
  5. 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!

8 comments:

bollyviewer said...

What! She leaves Abhay for the "humanoid mosquito" (great term, by the way and so very apt!)!!!! That is hard to forgive and I usually forgive Soha everything because she looks so much like her Mum. Sigh! I dont think I want to watch this one... :-|

bollyviewer said...

PS: Why do I keep getting prompted for a password everytime I come to your blog these days?

Nida said...

Hmm, I would ordinarily skip this one for the cons, BUT...I just saw Oye Lucky Oye last night!(Just couldn't wait to tell you):) Enjoyed your hunny bunny Abhay immensely!

Thanks for such an honest review, cuz you are biased, you know!lol

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Bollyviewer: Seriously, Abhay is too cute to miss- u can ignore Soha's idiocy and focus on the man :D I felt like slapping everyone in the end- [sigh] Fixed the password prompt- it was for the twitter update, which I deleted away - thanks!

Nida: Wasn't he WONDERFUL there????? oh that 1st shot where he is wearing that black shirt and turns around - I was clapping like an idiot :) Ahista isnt going to be the worst movie you will ever see- not even close, it'll be one of the better ones- so its a great investment for some Abhay gazing :)

Beth said...

That IS a good term! :) Also, help, color me stupid, but where is Sukhwinder in this? I read his name in the list on imdb but never spotted him (quite possibly because I've never spent much time sorting out what he looks like - who can bother when you can listen to him instead?) And how annoying to have to then listen to Himmesh? BLURGH.

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Beth- Shayan IS so so so awful- he just makes me feel v violent :D Sukhwinder shows up at the durgah in the qwalli song I think- didnt screencap though. Himesh- [sigh] :B

Darshit said...

I still haven't completed watching this [shame on me]. Abhay looked good in this [especially the checkshirts] And both Soha and him looked lovely together. I wish Soha had some more scenes where she is smiling :)

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Darshit: Yes the stlying works for him completely, and for Soha too. You are so right about her smiling- of course I've watched it twice but mostly noticed Abhay only :B