The director of masala hits Phool Aur Kaante, Suhaag and Haqeeqat returns in 2002 with his latest fare. Yeh Dil Aashiqana is a love story interspersed with terrorism (again!). Kuku Kohli had a lot of hopes pining on this film, he was originally going to release it in July of 2001 but after Karan Naths debut Paagalpan flopped he pulled out. The film finally released after its music topped the chart for several weeks and Kohli can finally breath a sigh of a relief as the film has been declared a hit by trade analysts.
The film revolves around Karan (Karan Nath) who is studying at a College in Pune. He falls in love with Pooja (Jividha) after a few initial comedic mishaps. Everything seems to be going fine for the couple until one day the plane Pooja is travelling on gets hijacked by a group of terrorists who want their leader Ashraf-ul Haq Malik (Vishal Khanna) who has been arrested by Indias intelligence, to be released. The hijack has been done with the help of Poojas brother Vijay Varma (Rajat Bedi) who is helping the terrorist head Akhmash Jalaal (Aditya Panshcoli). Pooja is unaware of her brothers ways. When Vijay realises that his sister is on that plane he is unable to do anything since Akhmash has warned him against it. Karan risks his own life and saves Pooja and the other passengers becoming a National Hero and inviting the wrath of Akhmash Jalaal.
Akhmash is now after Karan and Pooja and wants them at any cost. On the other hand Vijay rejects Karans marriage proposal. Karan and Pooja decide to escape but they are captured by Akhmash and are held captive. Akhmash blackmails the Indian Government by telling them if their leader Ashraf-ul Haq Mallik is not released then he will kill Pooja and Karan. The rest of the story forms the unsurprising climax of the film.
Story wise the movie is average. In the first half it moves on two tracks: the first is the romance track in college and the second is the terrorism track, the latter is obviously more interesting. On December 24th, 1999 armed terrorists hijacked an Indian Airline plane. In return they were asking for their leader to be released. This is the inspiration for Yeh Dil Aashiqana, but what could have been a edge-of-the-seat mind blowing action thriller turns into an average romance fare due to a watered down screenplay and too many clichés. The love story in the movie has been witnessed a million times before and some of the sequences in regard to the terrorism plot are unbelievable. Take for instance the scene where Karan takes on six terrorists all by himself and frees the passengers. Despite the fact the scene is well shot and has the "feel good" factor it seems implausible, it is quite unrealistic. Dialogues by Tanveer Khan are a major plus point, especially those uttered by Karan Nath and Aditya Panshcoli.
Performance wise everyone in the cast does a good job. Karan Nath is great as the leading man. After a decent debut performance in Paagalpan the actor shows his worth and sincerity and leaves a mark. Whether it is comedy, romance, drama or action he does it well. The only problem lies in his characterisation, he is shown as a National Hero and he doesn´t live up to that image. His performance is not completely perfect, as he does need to improve his dialogue delivery since his voice tends to go monotononous at places.
Debutante Jividha gives a fairly good performance for her first film. Despite her average looks she impresses in the talent department. She acts with confidence and her facial expressions are perfect. Prior to Yeh Dil Aashiqanas release she spoke of her confidence on the project and the many offers she had received. After watching the film you can somewhat believe what she is saying.
Rajat Bedi does fairly well in his role and I can say this is his best performance to date though that isn´t saying much. He is given a bigger role here than most of his films. Aditya Panshcoli is excellent in the movie; his scenes are simply great and uplifting. Aroona Irani is Ok in her weepy mother role. I expected her to have a punchy role since this is her home production. Newcomer Vishal Khanna looks deadly but doesn´t have any scope to perform. Johnny Lever is wasted in a double role and fails to evoke laughs.
Technically the film is also a sound product. Cinematography by Baba Azmi is A-Grade and the film looks very slick and fresh. Action by Kala Singh also deserves a special mention as it is very tight-knit and thrilling with the desired effect. The helicopter chase in the climax is simply breath taking!
Direction wise Kuku Kohli uses the same formula as he always does by incorporating light scenes and romance in the first half with action and drama in the second. The movie plays pretty well up to the last 40 minutes after which it goes haywire. The romance and comic scenes at the start have a major Phool Aur Kaante hangover and even the setting is identical. The entire sequence with the plane hijack is shot well and one wishes Mr Kohli had interwoven the entire movie around that plot. Kuku Kohlis formula fails to an extent this time since the love story is tepid and the drama/action is impactful only to an extent. I await Mr Kohli´s Asar- The Impact, which will be one big movie where he pairs thespian Dilip Kumaar, and his favourite Ajay Devgan.
The music of the movie is average overall but does have some great numbers, which have become a rage and have contributed heavily to the films success. I personally loved the title song, which is lovable and the picturization is very flashy indeed. The "qawalli" in the pre-climax is long stretched and drags the film but should appeal to the Middle Eastern audience. For those unaware this is the first film released directly in the Middle East in a long while. The rest of the songs in the movie are hummable. The Nadeem-Shravan Kuku Kohli combination have provided hit songs in the past and with this film their combination has proved to be successful both musical wise and film wise.
In conclusion, Yeh Dil Aashiqana is a typical masala fare, which will be enjoyed by the masses for its hit music, topical theme, and the combination of a teen love story woven with a terrorism plot. The film isn´t anything outstanding and has its fair share of flaws but after films like Pitaah and Koi Mere Dil Se Poochhe, 2002 has its first proper entertainer although the movie only does the trick to an extent.