Now that’s experimental indeed, and a brave one at that. Three months before the release of one of his most passionate films till date, Hamaari Adhuri Kahaani, Mahesh Bhatt releases a book titled ‘All That Could Have Been’ (‘ATCHB’). Writing it with Suhrita Sengupta, he comes up with a quick-fire 140 pages novel that narrates the story of Vasudha (to be played by Vidya Balan) and Aarav (to be played by Emraan Hashmi) who are at two ends of spectrum, find themselves in each other’s company in the most unusual of circumstances, and then are challenged by circumstantial intervention that is as heartbreaking as it gets.
Heartbreaking – This is how ‘ATCHB’ unfolds as one starts feeling the pain of both the protagonist right from the moment they are introduced. Vasudha, a single mother with an absconding husband (Hari – to be played by Rajkummar Rao), is in charge of decoration at one of the posh hotels in the city. On the other hand, for Aarav, this is one of the dozens of properties that he holds across the globe. Both of them have their demons to fight. Vasudha is just finding some groove in her life after being cornered in an abusive marriage. Aarav has his mother’s past to live with, both literally and figuratively.
Just when it seems that their relationship would culminate into a walk in the clouds, there are turn of events that threaten to break the equilibrium that the two mature individuals may just have managed to find in their lives.
As the title suggests (both ‘ATCHB’ as well as Hamaari Adhuri Kahaani), this is a tragic tale in the making and Mahesh Bhatt makes sure that there are ample heart tugging moments in the novel that bring on the emotions. If Vasudha’s predicament of going ahead with the new found love in her life is understandable indeed, Aarav’s urgency to catch hold of the happiness that has finally come his way is reasonable as well. Meanwhile, there is no doubt in one’s mind that re-emergence of Hari would bring back a twist in their lives, something that does happens indeed, hence resulting in an unpredictable climax.
This is where Mahesh Bhatt scores the most because the middle portions of the novel do turn a tad slow. Also, at times, it does appear that the story is meandering because the focus tends to shift a little from the core love story angle. You wish Vasudha and Aarav’s love story to become even stronger and their bond to get thicker as they are mature individuals who can think more with head than just their heart. However, the romantic angle seems to be a little rushed and something that could have suited a teenage bubblegum romance more. In case of ‘ATCHB’, a little bit of ‘thehrav’ would have added further weight.
However, it is the pages leading to the culmination of story that turn out to be heart stopping indeed. You really do not know in which direction would the narrative eventually move and once you realize what has truly happened, you do feel the pain for not just Vasudha and Aarav but even Hari. This pretty much works well along with the starting pages of the book that are equally engaging, hence resulting in ‘ATCHB’ turning out to be an overall engaged experience.
As for some of the key episodes that remain etched in your mind then hold on to the film’s release for a key sequence that is worthy of being highlighted. Under Mohit Suri‘s able direction, rest assured the point where Vidya Balan takes on a senior cop in the police station, after he has kidnapped her son, will not only find a place in the film’s promo but would also be prominently highlighted as yet another showcase of the leading lady’s talent.
Price: Rs. 195/=