The sheer thrill of watching a film and not knowing what will happen next is one of the great pleasures offered by producer Dr. Jayantilal Gada's Pen India Ltd. and debutant director Cherag Ruparel's Yeh Saali Aashiqui.
A compelling plot (Cherag Ruparel and Vardhan Puri) that has the potential to keep the viewer captivated, Yeh Saali Aashiqui tantalizes and teases the spectator but is quite unpersuasive at certain junctures as well. You're on the edge of your seat virtually for sure. Movies with such an audacious theme generally ignite debates and this film is sure to meet with severe reactions. The makers ought to be prepared for some bouquets & brickbats. What makes the movie watchable is the raging ambition and commitment.
Yeh Saali Aashiqui is nonconforming. It rebels against the set-patterns, norms and formulas of Bollywood masala flicks. The story (Cherag Ruparel and Vardhan Puri), situations and the treatment of the narrative cannot be compared to any Hindi film witnessed so far. Well crafted with some great moments, Yeh Saali Aashiqui is not just style, but substance as well. There's no stopping this adroit storyteller, Cherag Ruparel. He continues to shock and startle you till the last frame. No one can predict what's in store next.
The casting (Manoj Lila Bhatt) also adds to the experience. Under normal circumstances, the inclusion of characters only results in things getting messier and chaotic. Not here in Yeh Saali Aashiqui! This film is more psychological thriller than bloody blast. As aforementioned, Yeh Saali Aashiqui gleefully shatters clichés and rejects conventional plot turns to surprise you at every available opportunity. The turn of events continues to keep you engrossed, immersed and takes the film to an all-time high. The film has some outstandingly executed sequences. The transformation of a simple boy to a hardened man is amongst the most convincing aspects. The film's nail-biting crescendo is completely justified in the end.
Any roadblocks? Yeh Saali Aashiqui could've been shorter. Also, the slow pacing acts as a deterrent. There is a misogynistic streak that pops up in the second half which was totally unnecessary. If trimmed slightly, it should only prove advantageous.
Debutant Cherag Ruparel is a director to watch! The expertise with which he has handled the tense-filled moments should win him all-round praise. He strikes the right balance between realism and commercialism, between form and content. The background music (Hitesh Modak) is fantastic, enhancing the impact of sequences considerably. Cinematography (Pratik Shah) is amongst the assets of Yeh Saali Aashiqui. The editing (Anirban Dutta) could have been tighter. The dialogues (Cherag Ruparel and Vardhan Puri) are flawless.
Besides a racy screenplay, Yeh Saali Aashiqui rests on two solid performances, that of debutant Vardhan Puri and debutante Shivaleeka Oberoi. Vardhan Puri handles the part like a pro. This film is sure to multiply his fan following tremendously. Shivaleeka Oberoi delivers a knock-out performance. A tricky role that demands histrionics and she takes to her part like a fish takes to water. Jesse Lever is a talent to watch out for, portraying his part with gusto.
All said and done, Yeh Saali Aashiqui is a bold step forward and has some fresh things to say about love, passion and deceit. For the most part, this unusual & gripping thriller keeps you on your toes, curious to see where its twists and turns will lead. Surprise shocker of the year!