By Martin D'Souza, Glamsham Editorial
AASHIQUI 2 is a gamble taken by the Bhatt camp and T series. In the forefront are two actors (with some good work behind them), one with proven pedigree and the other with a standard of his own. We need to create a new bank of stars and the youth of today, however much they may idolize the bigger stars, are always on the lookout for fresh faces and newer talent they can identify with. With AASHIQUI 2, this is just what the makers have done: thrown in fresh faces and given them an opportunity to make a mark for themselves.Apart from Shraddha Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur, it is Shaad Randhawa who leaves a deep imprint with his no-nonsense approach to his role of a manager to a fading singing sensation, who once saw better days. Icy cool and steely in his resolve to make things work for Rahul Jaykar (Aditya), Shaad adds that extra personal touch that tilts the scales against him. He is a certainly talent to look out for.Aditya Roy Kapur is a likeable bloke. You look hard for flaws but he measures up to the expectations of the makers. He is sincere in his portrayal as a singing star that has hit the bottle and is now on the wane. It's a surprise that he never once goes over the top. The only time he seems to be floundering is when the dialogues have no weight which leaves him wondering whether he said the right thing. In the very first scene, where he is to appear before a huge crowd at a concert in Goa, he is 'chilled out'. He carries a scene meant for a seasoned actor like a pro.Shraddha Kapoor is a joy to watch. In just her third film, she reiterates that she is a talent to reckon with. She has the creative genes of both her parents; Shakti Kapoor and Shivangi Kolhapure. Whether struggling as a singer in a bar, or hitting the big time at a packed concert, she just rocks. Give her an emotional scene and she digs deep to leave her mark; a mild romantic track, and she is all bubbly and gooey eyed. A Kapoor to watch out for. Her feisty approach to her roles (right from TEEN PATTI) reminds me of Jodie Foster.The story is a bit surprising. Rahul is this singer whose career-graph is on the wane. A few years ago, we are given to understand that he was a singing sensation. But why he hit the bottle with a vengeance is not explained. One would think that his love interest Aarohi (Sharaddha) would have been the reason for his alcoholic state and we would have been treated to a flashback. Surprisingly, and refreshingly, may I say, he meets Aarohi in one of his drunken stupor and she is not the reason for his state.Impressed with her singing, he decides to take it upon himself to give her a break and make her an even bigger star. He pursues her career and lines up all the right breaks. He is proved right by Aarohi; she does have that zing that takes her to the top on her singing abilities alone. As her career graph rises, so does Rahul's count of the number of bottles he drowns.Will it end in a fairytale like all Bollywood romances or is there a cruel twist of fate? On the flipside, we see Rahul drowning 'neat' shots without even once getting drunk. I mean the only indication of him being drunk is his bloodshot eyes. There is no doddering in his steps or slurring in his speech. He also has a father who has just two conversations on the phone with him during the entire movie. In one he asks his son whether he is in love, and in the other he says "I can leave everything in New York and be there for you." But sadly, he is not there for his son. So what was the idea of having a 'phone father'? The reason for his decline too is not structured which makes you wonder why this convenience in scripting.Much has been spoken of the music, but for me, I hum none back home. If at all, I can still hear the soothing sound of Naazar ke Saamne, Jigar Ke Paas and Dheere Dheere... AASHIQUI 2 had the potential to be a blockbuster. But the handling of a few key scenes are its downfall apart from the 'convenient scripting' I mentioned. However, at the end of the day, I believe that this is a gamble that will pay off. The youth are going to love it.