Akaash Vani isn’t a bad watch, provided you go armed with tons of patience. It’s a love story that takes too much time to build the emotions, stir up the drama and resolve the conflict.
However, if you can tide through the long periods of absolute nothingness and cutesy inanities, this is a film relevant to the times. A time in which social pressure forces parents in towns small and big to stem the dreams of their daughters and force them into loveless marriages.
Vani (Nusrat Bharucha) is one such Dehradun girl whose parents line up an IIT-IIM groom with a six-figure salary. Vani has been in a relationship with Akaash (Kartik Tiwari) right through college in Delhi but is unable to defy her parents, given that her sister took off with a lover on her wedding day.
Trapped in a loveless marriage, Vani is a victim of marital rape, but her parents, fearing wagging tongues, hurl the ‘compromise’ word at her. When a college alumni meet brings her face-to-face with Akaash, Vani is faced with a dilemma — should she continue to toe the tragic line or choose a life of her own?
Pyaar Ka Punchnama, director Luv Ranjan’s first effort, was a boys-will-be-boys film, punched with crisp humour, wicked one-liners and their disappointments in lust and life. In Akaash Vani, Ranjan takes a complete U-turn to come up with a youth love story that goes beyond the college campus and rips the mask off societal prejudices and age-old traditions.
However, Ranjan takes too much time to establish the love story. What starts off as cute and fresh starts feeling tedious after a point, both in the first half and post-interval. For a film with a single conflict and just resting on the shoulders of two newcomers, Akaash Vani is just too long at two hours and 30 minutes.
But if you are willing to give this film a chance this R-Day weekend, the lead pair should be the reason. While Nusrat is an easy and confident presence, Kartik — the scene-stealer with that five-minute angst-ridden monologue in Pyaar Ka Punchnama — shows promise yet again. A special mention for Sana Sheikh and Gautam Mehra who put in spot-on acts as the couple’s best buds.
Hitesh Sonik’s music may not be chartbusting, but packs in some appeal. A young couple at INOX (Forum) on Friday morning were clearly enjoying a number called Crazy Lover. The lyrics: “Baby I, your crazy lover/ You smiling, me climbing tower/ Tower baby ta... my baby ta.../ Tower baby ta... my baby ta…/ I cally me cally flower/ Baby I your crazy lover.”
Honey Bunny, watch out!