DIRECTOR: Mohit Suri
CAST: Aditya Roy Kapur,Shraddha Kapoor,Shaad Randhawa
More than 20 years ago,the Bhatts crafted a blockbuster out of a string of songs sung by fresh voices. And a pair of new faces,artfully hidden under a jacket,for the purposes of a poster. The songs came first,the movie came after. Aashiquis soundtrack became all the rage. So did that instantly-recognisable image of young-lovers-under-jacket.
Now comes the sequel. Aashiqui number 2 has similarities with the first: the Bhatts are co-producers along with Bhushan Kumar (son of the slain T series magnate Gulshan,who was responsible for the phenomenal success of the originals music,still bouncing about in playlists). Music leads from the front again. But this time around,it is not as distinctive,and thats because the Bhatts may have become victims of their own created template of sufi-soft-pop-cum-rock. No single song of the new Aashiqui leaps out at you. And this,along with a story that starts with some lift and then dips makes the new film a messy meander.
Rahul Jaykar (Roy Kapur) is a singer fighting his demons,with the help of good pal (Randhawa). Aarohi Shirke (Kapoor) is a girl who worships Lata Mangeshkar and wants to be a singer. For reasons that are never explained,Rahuls constant companion is alcohol. Lots of it. But he is not so soused that he cant spot talent: he hears Aarohi sing in a shady Goa bar,and knows she is the next best thing. And then comes the Abhimaan-like arc,as the two deal with obscurity,fame and heartbreak,and it all becomes mothballed.
Mohit Suri knows how to get lovers to start off the blocks. And the best part of this film is these two trying out each other for size,despite an embarrassing meet-cute. Roy Kapoor shows he has mettle: I was wondering about that after his turns in Action Replayy and Guzaarish,bad films both,but his potential is clear in this one. Kapoor also does a tad better than her earlier outings,but is patchy. The lead couple has a moment or two,but doesnt spark overall.
The more I see these so-called love stories with promising beginnings and then wandering about,not knowing what to do with themselves,the more I wonder whether present day Bollywood has any idea of making real romances any more. Suri has directorial skill (some of his sequences in Woh Lamhe are still on recall),but where are the people writing good stuff ? Once the lovers come together,and the first act is over,why does everything slide? This Aashiqui 2 holds out promise,but doesnt make the most of it.