Rahul Jaykar is a successful singer with an inexplicable addiction to alcohol. It’s irrational, dangerous and Aditya Roy Kapur’s depiction of a drunk is not even convincing. At one point Rahul’s only explanation is, “Mein marne ke liye nahin peeta hoon. Peene ke liye marta hoon.”
His habit drives his career into the ground. And then he almost runs over Aarohi, causing her bag full of tomatoes and potatoes to scatter all over a Goan road. He runs into her again, this time metaphorically, at a bar, where he wants one more for the road. He discovers that she’s a talented singer and falls in love with her almost instantly. He also wants to give her career a boost.
Cut to Mumbai, which looks more like Cape Town, and a beaten up Rahul is lying unconscious in hospital. His friend and manager Vivek (Shaad Randhawa) decides Rahul’s fascination with Aarohi is career suicide and sabotages their liaison.
Eventually Rahul manages to reconnect with Aarohi, gives her the promised leg up in the music industry at the same time discarding his own career. Like Abhimaan (1973), he cannot handle her success and his decline. He hits the bottle harder, till he hits rock bottom. He has hardly any funds left, he is told, as he drives off in a SUV to his penthouse apartment where he has a grand piano in the living room and plasma TVs in every room.
This is some twisted definition of ‘broke’. Plus there’s an unseen father who lives in New York who never bails his son out nor offers guidance.
Now Aarohi pledges to help Rahul kick the bottle and restore his career. They retire to a lodge in the country. She bathes him, dresses him, shaves him – suddenly you recall Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Guzaarish though there are no paraplegics in director Mohit Suri’s movie. The film’s biggest handicap, in fact, is the absurdly old-fashioned, logic-defying script.
When the weak-willed Rahul, having gone back to the booze, comes the big third act twist: Aarohi decides to start drinking if that is the only way to be with him in his drunken world! When Shradha Kapoor, who sounds like a 12-year-old reading from a school textbook, says these lines, you hear an involuntary groan escape from your mouth. Roy Kapur is the better of the pair. And one can imagine the teenagers at whom this remake is aimed finding him ‘hot’ and ‘cute’.
What worked most for Aashiqui circa 1991 was the music. The same cannot be said for Jeet Ganguli, Mithoon and Ankit-Ankur’s score, besides Mithoon’s ‘Tum Hi Ho’, the only hummable tune.
Aashiqui 2 could have been a cute-touching romance. Instead it’s archaic, clumsy and deliberately dysfunctional, without connect to contemporary notions of romance.