Movie - Ahista Ahista (Hindi)
Director - Shivam Nair
Producer - Anjum Rizvi
Cast - Abhay Deol, Soha Ali Khan, Shayan Munshi, Kamini Khanna, Shakeel Khan
Music - Himesh Reshammiya
Background Score - Abhishek Ray
Cinematography - Prakash Kutty
Story, Screenplay - Imtiaz Ali
Dialogues - Arif Ali
Release Date - 18th August 2006
This is a small, sweet movie which got sidelined because of the vast number of extremely popular movies all released together in the year 2006. I wanted to watch it because it had the very dependable Abhay Deol in it. He has hardly acted in any bad movie so far and all movies that I've seen of his, has been different and entertaining in their own ways. And I learned later that one of my current favourite directors, Imtiaz Ali had written the story and screenplay for this movie. So I immediately decided to watch this movie. This was the first movie by Shivam Nair, who made Maharathi- a slow, but interesting thriller, last year. The only thing that didnt appeal to me about the movie was the name Himesh Reshammiya in the credits. I decided to forgive that mistake and started watching the movie.
The story is about Ankush (Abhay Deol), a happy-go-lucky fellow who makes his living by signing as a witness at the Chandni Chowk Marriage Registrar Office. He charges 200 rupees per sign and manages to live a decent life with that. One day, he comes across a beautiful girl called Megha Joshi (Soha Ali Khan) in front of the registrar office. He later learns that the girl was stranded alone in the streets of Delhi because her lover who promised to get married to her at the registrar office did not turn up. She had no money and could not go back to her house in Nainital because she knew that her parents would not want her back in the house after she decided to elope. Ankush decides to help Megha and he keeps doing all possible things to make her happy. Their relationship develops over two months and they both slowly fall in love. But right after this, her old lover Dheeraj (Shayan Munshi) pops out of nowhere. What happens after this forms the rest of the movie.
Though the story is quite ordinary, the movie has several wonderful, sweet moments. And you can see similar sweet moments in all of Imtiaz's films as well. So you know where these are coming from. The director has successfully handled all these moments well and has captured the heart of Delhi, Chandni Chowk (or Dilli-6) extremely well, almost making it a character of the movie. The movie follows a pretty much realistic, down to earth narrative, except for the fact that random Himesh Reshammiya songs pop in every now and then. The story can remind you of 'Saawariya' and 'Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa' at times too.
Abhay Deol gives a wonderful performance. As I said earlier, he just cannot be bad in anything he does. He has consistently given lovely performances in all his films. If this film works, it works majorly because of this young man. He is sweet, simple, charming, and vulnerable. He plays Ankush in an extremely natural manner and thats what works big time. This movie was his second release after his wonderful debut film Socha Na Tha. And now, after Dev D, he is certainly one of the most promising young actors in the industry.
Soha Ali Khan is good, but she stops at being good. She looks cute and petite and has a good role too. But somehow her performance looks like it could have had something more in it. Especially, when this movie came after Rang De Basanti, where she gave a brilliant performance. But she's good nevertheless. Shayan Munshi is just okay. The rest of the cast give credible support to both Abhay and the film.
The movie moves at a slow pace, slowly building up the relationship between Ankush and Megha. In between, there are sub-plots about the church and old age home, Ankush's friends, Ankush's love-hate relationship with his friend's mother played by Kamini Khanna, etc. All these are worked out very well. But Imtiaz's lovely writing is let down by just theek-thaak dialogues by Arif Ali. Though the Imtiaz Ali magic is certainly missing in the dialogues, they get better as the film progresses. The best moment of the film for me would be their first awkward kiss and Ankush's apology soon after that. Many may not be satisfied with the ending, which is unlike usual Hindi films, but that is what actually will happen in such a situation. I also didnt like the ending in a conventional way. But when I gave it a thought, I felt that it was the right way to end the film. I'm happy that the director and writer stuck to this and didnt change fearing audience reactions.
The only thing I didnt like about the movie was the music. Though Himesh Reshammiya's name got the movie a lot of attention, it didnt serve any purpose for the actual movie. The songs are just speed-breakers to an already slow movie and nothing else. Abhay Deol just cannot lip-sync to songs, because he is too natural and realistic. I guess he never got an opportunity to do an actual Bollywood kinda movie. ;) And guess what, the movie has a song called 'Love You Unconditionally Soniye!!' in Himesh's terrible voice. LOL. It looked totally out of place in this movie and you can sense from Abhay's face that he was totally uncomfortable doing that song. The only song which was nice was the qawwali number even though it was in Himesh's voice.
Cinematography was excellent. Prakash Kutty captures the true flavour of Old Delhi through his frames. The frames containing the Red Fort, Juma Musjid, Chandni Chowk, etc are a treat to the eyes. Editing could have been better. Background score by Abhishek Ray was very good and much better than the actual music of the movie, though it reminded me of the background score of some old Malayalam movies. (Maybe because the director is a Malayali :P).
On the whole, Ahista Ahista is a simple, sweet movie which moves at a very slow pace. If the songs werent there, this movie would have been much better. Abhay Deol gives a wonderful performance and Soha lends able support. There are plenty of beautiful moments in the movie, for which alone you can watch this one. It clearly has the stamp of Imtiaz Ali's brilliant writing. And Shivam Nair made a promising debut through this one. (I liked his second movie too, but he should make his movies less slower). I'm sure many of you would have missed this movie. It wouldnt hurt if you give it a try :)
Rating - 3.5/5