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The quintessential theme of living life to the fullest when there isn’t much time left to live, reiterates itself and forms the basic theme and message of this movie. It’s the story of a compulsive gambler Rahul (John Abraham) who discovers the secret to a happy life while counting down his last days to death. Rahul, a guy who can put all his life’s earnings at stake in a single bet, would not have been what he is, if weren’t for his loving and caring girlfriend Nafisa (Sonal Sehgal). However, life plays a cruel joke on Rahul when he is told that he has lung cancer and got only three months left to live. With his days numbered, Rahul gives a generous share of his gambling earnings to his girlfriend & checks-in to a Hospice, all by himself. There, at the hospice, he meets an assorted bunch of terminally ill characters who are all, in various different ways, racing against time, just like him. The rest of the film revolves around how each of the characters in the Hospice, in his/her own unique way, changes Rahul’s perspective on life and how it ought to be lived. Girish Karnad, plays an elderly guy who’s lost his speech; Farida Jalal plays the character of a high class ex- prostitute who’s now HIV positive and therefore shunned by society as well as many others at the hospice for fear of contracting the deadly virus. Anaitha Nair is a cancer-stricken teen who falls for Rahul and there’s also a child Ashwin Chitale who plays a precocious little character, full of life’s wisdoms, even though a bit too early for his young age. Aashayein has a number of touching moments, including the one in which John and Anaitha are watching Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s film ‘Anand’, which was classic Indian cinema, dedicated to the spirit of ‘living life to the fullest’, in the face of imminent death. The fantasy sequence in which John, a fan of Indiana Jones, dresses up as the adventurer with a fedora & whip, leading on to the strange dream sequence inside a cave with the white-faced ghosts tied in thick chains, was a bit too obscure, denoting the director’s efforts to portray the relevance and significance between Rahul’s dreams and reality and could very well have been eliminated, as the movie dragged-on beyond a point, especially in the Second-half and made it a bit too slow & restless for most audiences. John Abraham does a truly convincing job in this movie and gives a performance which exposes him as a good actor. He makes you cry and feel the pain he is going through, with intense emotion. The film is a bit melodramatic in parts but all the 3 lead actors, John, Sonal and Anaitha give commendable performances, which helps to overlook the melodramatic factor. Looking Back :- Regarding its box office prospects, the chances are not so bright as today’s busy and hi-fi generation of youth are simply not interested in seeing a movie revolving around the theme of Death. However, I would recommend it to my readers, for the commendable performances put in by John, Sonal and Anaitha and its few uplifting moments, which teach us the power of the human soul and give us some new insights on how we should lead the rest of our lives. I would suggest that you see this movie but keep your patience on a high and your restlessness on a low, for the many slow and introspective moments in the film.
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