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Film Review - Ahista Ahista

Tarangini Suresh

It is a simple tale, elegantly told. Characters seem real...for the most part. It is certainly well-acted. As Hindi movies go, Aahista Aahista is something of a `Sadma´ for our times. It is a tried and true formula with a slight tweak.
The hero is not quite the hero.

In beautiful shades of grey, Abhay Deol´s character, Ankush, an orphan who speaks no English from `Dilli 6´ (a reference to the postal code of a lower-middle class Delhi locality famous for its wholesale market, where residents speak little or no English) and who makes a living as a
`witness´ at the wedding registry, makes you want to adopt him and slap him at once! His desperate love for the heroine Soha Ali Khan makes him do some immoral things. But you want to forgive him because he is so simple and sweet and has been life´s favourite whipping boy for so long. Abhay Deol
seems, luckily, to have escaped the Deol curse of `Good-looks? No acting skills!´ In fact, he has acted so well for a first-timer, that girls will actually be able to look beyond the killer dimples and appreciate his art!

Soha Ali Khan has steadily been rising in the estimation of this
reviewer. With every film she seems to improve. The role of Megha
Joshi, the slim, doe-eyed, five and a half foot tall, protected
girl from Nainital, who faces parental opposition to her 5-year
long love affair, is tailor made for Ali. Her decision at the end
is credible and creditable. You can empathise with her.

Supporting character actors are all well cast (although sometimes
the Bombay accent crept into some of their dialogue delivery- for
example, into Ankush´s friend, the Haryanvi
Bandmaster´s), for the most part though, they each do full
justice to their roles.

The only fly in the ointment of casting is Shayan Munshi. Calling
his performance mediocre in this film would be charitable. He too
has improved vastly from his debut in Jhankaar Beats, but pity
the improvement hasn´t done much for him this time. As
Dheeraj, (ex?) boyfriend to Soha´s Megha, he seems miscast
somehow. His character is to be pitied for sure; for all that he
bore in the name of love. But the audience will be hard pressed
to, all the same. You feel like telling him to stop whining and
go home and to leave Megha and Ankush alone. Now, this could be
due as much to the strength written into Ankush´s
character as to Abhay Deol´s far superior acting, but I
suspect it´s a combination of the two. Munshi would do
well sticking to roles like the one he had in Jhankaar Beats-
they fit him like a glove and it´s much less trouble to
play yourself, movie after movie. Worst of all his hair, wardrobe
and make-up seemed to conspire against him!
Songs are hummable, but unrememberable (is that a word?) and
totally unnecessary. They should have released the music for the
movie but not put the songs in it (Aaaah! What am I saying? Is
this a sane suggestion for a Hindi film? I´m sorry, I take
it back.)

All in all, Aahista Aahista was not a waste of time, even though
with a pace which induced a feeling of teeth being pulled, it did
live up to its name in certain parts. Watch it if you
can´t get tickets for anything newer/nicer, you
won´t want to kill yourself.

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