What’s in a name? Plenty, if you ask the team behind Aashiqui 2. They will happily go blue in the face claiming Aashiqui 2 has no resemblance to the blockbuster Aashiqui, except that, like the original, this one too is an love story.
“It’s set in a new world. This is a film that caters to the conservative middle class who constitute our cinema-going crowd. It’s a complete family entertainer,” said Mahesh Bhatt, who directed the original. For Aashiqui 2, he handed the directorial reins to Mohit Suri of Raaz fame but remains its producer.
“Aashiqui 2 is more complex and mature than the 1990 film. As society evolves, films also evolves. This is a brave one,” said Bhatt. If you ask us, the original was pretty brave too.
Aashiqui, under the Bhatt directorship, featured two newcomers, Rahul Roy and Anu Agarwal. It was an intense love story with some great music and some bold scenes. Instead of two flowers rubbing against each other (a popular on-screen euphemism to depict lovers kissing in Bollywood films), the two lead actors locked lips with abandon. Suddenly, Roy and Agarwal were plucked from obscurity and mass hysteria followed (more about that later).
“Aashiqui 2 is completely original. We may have borrowed the brand name and put a number next to it, but it’s not a re-make. If you ask me nobody can do that. The essence behind the two films is the same but the love stories are different,” said Shradda Kapoor. In Aashiqui 2, the two-film-old actress plays a Maharashtrian girl, Arohi Shirke. One day, she runs into the rich, successful, attitude-dripping musician Rahul Jaikar, played by relative newbie Aditya Roy Kapur.
“He is famous and has money and is on this thrilling ride called success. But it’s happening so fast that he doesn’t really know how to get off. He’s not really happy with his life. He then meets Arohi and life takes on a new meaning. There’s renewed purpose,” said Kapoor.
As far as originality goes, the boy-meets-girl, boy-finds-girl-as-project may not sound fresh but if there’s one thing that Bollywood has mastered over the years, it is its ability to churn out Bollywood love musicals with robust speed. The premise of love stories may sound similar but its treatment will always be tweaked to give a fresh feel.
“We haven’t broached such a love story for such a long time. It’s unadulterated, pure love story which will find resonance among today’s youth,” pronounced Kapur. He deliberately stayed away from re-visiting Aashiqui to avoid any replication unwittingly.
His leading lady echoes his sentiment with: “love stories can be told time and again because they are timeless. The emotions that are ignited when you watch a romantic film, it is eternal.” Surprisingly, Kapur — whose brother is UTV Disney honcho Siddharth Roy Kapur and sister-in-law is acclaimed actress Vidya Balan — is not a “sucker for mushy chick flicks”.
“I was a VJ on Channel [V] for 12 years. Once you are on television, people are quick to tell you that: ‘Tu actor kabhi nahi banega’ [you can never become an actor now]. Surprisingly, I wasn’t a film buff either. I couldn’t imagine singing those love songs and all that rubbish. But then I did London Dreams and I found myself enjoying the process,” said Kapur who has acted in supporting roles in films such as Guzaarish and Action Replayy.
In his initial projects, there was always a much bigger star such as Hrithik Roshan or an Askshay Kumar hogging the limelight. Aashiqui 2 will be his first solo lead project.
“It’s a burden that I am more than happy to carry. I look at it as an opportunity and I have huge expectations from this one.” Producer Bhatt is also convinced that taking on newcomers is a sign of a strong script.
“I always like to take the path less travelled because it takes a lot of conviction in a film to make it with no stars,” said Bhatt, who has produced over 55 films. From introducing an adult actress Sunny Leone into Bollywood with Jism 2 to the hit thriller franchise Raaz. Bhatt has covered the whole length of dramas, thrillers and family films.
“I think of us as a bookshop. Just like how it has all sections such as horror, erotic, romance, philosophy— we cater to all kinds of audiences,” said Bhatt. When asked if Aashiqui 2 was his attempt to right the wrongs of the original Aashiqui, he said: “I never look back. Nostalgia is a drug that I don’t pander to.”
What happened to the original actors from Aashiqui? tabloid! investigates:
The Aashiqui boy Rahul Roy — Life before Aashiqui craze:
He was a model in Delhi when he got spotted by Mahesh Bhatt. At 22, he made his debut with Aashiqui. Soon after its stupendous success, he signed 40 films at a stretch.
Life after Aashiqui: Roy became an overnight star. Wherever he went, mass hysteria followed. A rumour about his death even trigged school children going berserk. Surprisingly, Roy couldn’t replicate the success of his first films in his next projects. Out of the 40 films he signed, dozens were shelved. In 1992, he met success with Junoon, a thriller which saw him turn into a tiger at night. He took a sabattical and then returned to acting in Meri Aashiqui (2005) and Naughty Boy 2006. It didn’t boost his career, as expected. He was last seen is reality show Bigg Boss in 2006. He was the winner.
“I didn’t struggle initially. But after my hit Aashiqui, I didn’t get any film offers for 8 months. That made me insecure. And just after that I got flooded by film offers and I signed around 40 of them,” said Rahul Roy in an earlier interview on a chat show entitled Lounge with Rajat Kapoor.
The Aashiqui girl Anu Agarwal — Life before Aashiqui craze:
She did not fit the Bollywood heroine mould. Unlike popular heroines from the nineties, she wasn’t fair-skinned or voluptous. Lanky, she looked more like a runway model. (ok, we have a different scale for women) than a Bollywood heroine. She wasn’t all looks. A gold medalist from Delhi University, Agarwal was raised in Chennai. After a brief stint in modelling and a VJ, she got spotted by Mahesh Bhatt who offered her a role in his ambitious love story Aashiqui. Initially, she was reluctant to do the film, but the moment she did there was no looking back.
Life after Aashiqui craze:
People loved her unconventional looks. Suddenly, she became Bollywood’s next IT girl. Fans followed her everywhere. She was stalked and courted with fan mails. She didn’t handle the adulation too well. Barring a few roles in films such as Khalnayak where she played a blood-thirsty nanny, there wasn’t much to boast about.
According to grapevine, her life was a cocktail of drugs, parties and fun. In 1999, she went a bit overboard and crashed her car into a tree. She was in coma for 29 days and emerged a different person. She couldn’t remember who she was and had to learn to do basic activities like walking all over again.
“I had each and every limb, bone and joint broken in my body. I don’t know whether there was someone else in the car, but I believe there was. I have to go by hearsay, which is not something I particularly want to believe. Beyond that everything is a blank,” said Agarwal in an interview with an entertainment website.
She is now all set to write a tell-all book about her life in the glamour world and will soon be scouting for publishers. Currently, she lives in Bihar and practices yoga everyday.