The film begins at the scene of a rock concert by a fallen star Rahul Jayakar (Aditya Roy Kapoor) whose best days are already behind him and he is now suffering from heavy alcohol addiction that often gets him into trouble. After an incident that disrupts the concert, he drives around Goa, rams his car into a tree and goes around looking for booze. He then spots Arohi singing at a bar, discovers that she dreams of being the next Lata Mangeshkar and feels that she has the potential to get there.
The film actually never explains why Rahul is insanely addicted to alcohol, something that even true love can’t cure unlike what we see in most films. Here, one would also be reminded of ‘Woh Lamhe’ where a character’s troubles take her down the drain. In ‘Aashiqui 2’ though, it gets ridiculous at times, where the protagonist guzzles one bottle after another, neat, at a frequency as if it were plain water. And despite that, he hardly looks drunk. Rather, the actor was quite bad at playing drunk.
Continuing with the story, Arohi soon tastes success as a playback singer and wins the award for the best singer of the year, an event where he makes an unceremonious exit, and ends up drunk on his penthouse’s terrace. He is concerned about his problems having effect on her success. And despite this, Arohi chooses him over success saying that any success without him is of no avail.
‘Aashiqui 2’ can also remind you of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s 1973 film ‘Abhimaan’ where a singer, Amitabh Bachchan’s character finds talent in Jaya Bachchan’s. Then they fall in love, and the green monster of jealousy strikes him when she becomes more successful. Despite some resemblance, ‘Aashiqui 2’ is more about Rahul coming to terms with his reality, building his dreams on Arohi and encouraging her to do better and his problems are drinking and unable to handle his fall well.
On acting, Aditya Roy Kapoor is decent but is not convincing enough. Surely, he has a bigger potential than what Director Mohit Suri has explored in this film. Shaad Randhawa who plays Vivek, his long time friend and manager is good. Some of the worst actors are those who played Arohi’s parents.
Shraddha Kapoor is good with emotional scenes and enacts the from-the-bottom-of-the-heart kind of love with all earnest. Her girl-next-door looks make her perfect for her role. Her performance is an improvement over her debut film ‘Luv Ka The End’. If you didn’t know it yet, she is the daughter of Shakti Kapoor and niece of Padmini Kolhapure. Obviously she got her looks from her mother.
What works is its 90’s charm of sweet love stories that aren’t about selfish backstabbing romances or suspense thrillers we see today. Neither does Rahul’s character despise her success at the cost of his own fall from grace, nor does Arohi dump him even when her career looks bright and his drinking problem is too much to handle. It’s about stories where they are willing to put everything aside for the sake of love with utmost honesty. Songs ‘Tum Hi Ho’ & ‘Sun Raha Hai’ are nice and are popular already.
Where it fails are some clichéd scenes and dialog. The situation of the girl’s parents over-the-top dramatic and what was the need for Rahul’s dad’s voice-over through phone calls? Also, a girl who sings his songs for a living can’t recognize him in one scene and she later recognizes him all of a sudden. And the scene from his apartment clearly isn’t Mumbai. Was an overseas location really necessary?
Still, there are a couple of scenes stand out as exceptions where Mohit Suri’s directorial talent is seen such as; ‘Tum Hi Ho’ song, Rahul’s exchanges with Vivek , his pep talk with Arohi before her first big recording. The one that takes the cake though is Rahul and Arohi’s conversation across the door.
The Verdict: If you are sucker for love stories, you’ll love the mushy element. If you only liked a couple of songs and care not about the rest, better watch the songs on YouTube. For those who detest Bollywood romances, keep away from it. Nonetheless, despite a few slippages here and there, the honest story and the deep love they portray keeps the film from totally going down the drain.
Rating 4/10: Master Class on Alcohol Addiction garnished with songs