Aksar meaning "Often" was released in February 2006 and stars Dino Morea, Emraan Hashmi and Udita Goswami as the 3 main protagonists with support from Tara Sharma and Suresh Menon. The film was directed by Ananth Narayan Mahadevan and produced by Shyam Bajaj.
The film is rated 15 and runs for just under 2 hours. The film is billed as a romance/thriller, neither of which genres it really falls into for me. By the way, this is a Bollywood film - i.e. a Hindi language film.
Ricky Sharma (Hashmi) is a photographer whose only passion apart from photography is loving and leaving women. Most of the women he photographs also end up in his bed only to be dumped unceremoniously the next day or within a short space of time. One such girl is Nisha (Sharma), who tries to commit suicide after being dumped by Ricky. Ricky doesn't particularly care, except that Nisha's best friend is supermodel, Sheena Roy (Goswami) who tricks Ricky into coming to take her photos (which he's been trying to snap for years) just so she can smash up his camera and insult him for hurting her best pal.
Fast forward 3 years and Ricky is about to have an exhibition of his photographs. He is in debt up to his eyeballs and a mysterious businessman comes to the exhibition before it opens and offers to buy all of the pictures for their sum worth. Ricky wants to refuse but he has huge debts which need paying off and soon. The mysterious businessman comes back later and makes a proposition to Ricky. Rajveer Singh (Morea) wants Ricky to come to London and have an affair with his wife, make her fall in love with him so she'll leave him. Ricky asks why he can't just divorce her. Rajveer wants a no fault divorce from his side or she'll end up with half of his money but he's not a killer so he doesn't want to get her killed off.
What Rajveer doesn't count on is that, although Ricky gets his wife to fall in love with him, Ricky also falls for her and then refuses to leave the marital home! And the wife is none other than Sheena, who has an awful temper and decides she wants her lover to live with them in their home. Sounding a bit weird? No wait! One of the protagonists is then killed and of the remaining two, whodunnit?
This was a new one for Bollywood films, Indian audiences are not used to people having affairs and being so blasé about it. In general if either party in a marriage is caught having an affair they're very apologetic and beg forgiveness. This is the first time I've seen a storyline whereby the husband catches the wife red-handed, so to speak, and she blatantly says to him "There's nothing you can do about it!" and carries on with it in the marital home and the husband just accepts it.
Out of the 3 protagonists only Dino Morea only impressed me slightly. He was suitably suave and cool as the rich businessman who plots and plans and thinks everything is going to go his way and then is stunned when it all goes pear-shaped. He ends up being quite jealous when his wife falls for the very guy he wanted her to fall for and it all smacks of being quite petty. Morea's not your typical Bollywood hero, he hasn't done very many films and his Latin good looks (he's half Italian by the way) will certainly keep the female viewers happy.
The film opens with Emraan Hasmi waking up to his phone ringing and a female voice saying "good morning darling", he pulls the cover off the body next to him and says "Who are you?" the woman says "Are you joking?" and he replies "No, I'm asking a question." This is obviously to show what a callous individual and superstud he is right from the start. And that's the opinion you get of him and that's what sticks throughout the film. Emraan Hashmi has not been going from strength to strength as far as I'm concerned. He seems to be getting the same sort of roles in all of his films - part Casanova part cad - sorry but to me, he's not good looking enough for me to buy his as a Romeo that women fall for at the click of his fingers. He has a permanent six o'clock shadow on his face which is really annoying. I've not seen this guy clean-shaven once in any film that he's appeared in. What's that supposed to be about? It's not cute, it's not sexy and it just looks scruffy/lazy! His acting skills have a long way to go before he's nominated for any acting awards in my opinion and his dialogue delivery couldn't be blander if he tried. Can you tell I'm not a fan of his? I think it's high time he learned a few more facial expressions aside from the two or maybe three that I've seen him use in any film I've seen him appear in!
Udita Goswami was obviously chosen for this part for her looks and not her acting abilities. Every scene she appears is, she overacts and apart from her obvious good looks, I don't know where this actress can go in future roles. She doesn't have a good voice, she looks like a cheap lady of the night no matter what she wears and her character in the film does not gain any sympathy from the audience at all. She comes across as spoilt, exceedingly vain and bad-tempered, often throwing the nearest item to hand at anyone who annoys her. One wants to give her character a good slap and tell her to grow up. In one scene, someone is delivering a Versace outfit for her to wear to her anniversary party and she declares "I set fashion trends, I don't care how much the dress costs or who designed it!" as she hacks it to pieces with a pair of scissors. This is quite amusing for someone to say about Versace, Gucci or Prada or Chanel, don't you think? Are we supposed to believe that a mere model who comes from India to live in the UK with her husband is more of a trend-setter than some of the biggest names in the fashion world? The writers weren't sure where they were going with her characterisation and made her rather farcical when it was supposed to be serious. Oh and don't let me forget to mention that her character bears as much skin as could possibly pass the censor boards at every opportunity during the film!
A few things about the film which really amused/amazed me included:
When Morea's character tells Hashmi to come to London to ensnare his wife in his "lovetrap" he says he lives in "Manchester, London" which made me roar with laughter. This is said verbally and on the subtitles, in case there's any doubt of the stupidity of this goof! Then we're constantly shown scenes of London Bridge and surrounding areas to show that it is, in fact, London where these rich people live! What's even funnier is that the home they live in is a huge mansion with very large grounds, which doesn't seem to be anything that would be anywhere in London, more like something out in the countryside! I'm not even sure that the property is in the UK!
Providing some lighter moments is Suresh Menon, as Benz the butler (how original). He constantly talks to the furniture lovingly, which he justifies by saying that he has to look after such a large home with just 2 people living there and the furniture that he talks to is his only other company. It wasn't really very amusing; it was more worrying - was thinking to myself "Get that poor man to a doctor!"
How could I forget to mention Tara Sharma? Well actually, quite easily, she appears in very few scenes and those were not at all memorable. I've not seen her in a film before (or if I did she made even less impression on me than in this film). She's pretty enough but very bland. Maybe the budget was limited, so they couldn't afford a real actress with real expressions and the ability to deliver lines without sounding like a robot?
The music for Aksar was composed by Himesh Reshammiya and the lyrics were by Sameer. Some raunchy numbers were included as one would expect with this type of film but nothing particularly memorable. There are 5 songs in the film with 12 songs on the music album which apparently includes various remixes for the 5 songs. Playback singers include Kunal Ganjawala, Jayesh Gandhi, Sunidhi Chauhan and KK.
The best tune for me in the film was "Jhalak Dikhlaja" which means "Let me have a glance at you" which is an upbeat club number played at a house party; it's sung by Himesh Reshammiya and is definitely going to be played at Indian clubs for some time to come. It's the first song in the film and leads the way for Sheena to start her affair with Ricky.
KK sings "Sohniye" which means "Beloved" and this is a soft melody about a man not being able to imagine life without the woman. Apart from starting out with Udita walking out from the sea (she's no Ursula Andress), it has a rather scenic background for the song with a lot of London sights thrown in to make it look more interesting. Sunidhi Chauhan has some lines in the song which are in English "you are my love, you are my life, you are the one deep in my heart" which is repeated like a chorus throughout the song. A pretty soppy number played in the film to denote the passing of time as Sheena and Ricky fall in love. Interestingly enough the sincerity of Ricky is doubted when halfway through the song he stops to have a conversation with Sheena's husband to say "Don't worry, your wife is falling for me!"
"Laagi Laagi Laagi Prem Dhun Laagi" is translated as "started, started, started, love has started" is sung by Himesh Reshammiya and Sunidhi Chauhan. This song has a sufi and western fusion style which actually didn't leave a lasting impression on me. I played it back again after watching the film to see if it would grow on me but found myself moving forward to the next one pretty quickly. This is one of the raunchier songs in the film with lots of flesh being bared and lots of smooching and sensuous touching going on during the song which might have seemed rather risqué a few years ago in Hindi films but almost the norm these days and a certainty, it seems, in any film Emraan Hashmi appears in!
"Loot Jayenge" (meaning "Losing my honour") is played at Sheena's birthday party and is another club tune which again didn't impress me. It's sung by mostly by Kunal Ganjawala and apparently the remixes on the album are more peppy and catchy than the original!
The theme tune "Aksar" is played during the end credits of the movie and has the three leads dancing in the street and is another dance tune. Dino Morea looks very cute in a vest top as during the film we only see him in expensive suits. It's quite a cleverly choreographed video but the song itself wasn't that notable.
The music CD for the film can be purchased for just £3.50 from musichouseltd.co.uk.
WHERE TO GET IT
You can pick up Aksar on DVD from sendit.com for £14.99 or £15.99 from dvdsource.co.uk or try renting it from screenselect.co.uk or your usual DVD rental source.
Nothing really exciting on the extras here I'm afraid, all there is to choose from is the subtitles list which is just English, there's a list of 20 chapters to choose from or a list of the 5 songs from where you can select them individually to listen to or you have the option of playing them all. Rather a disappointing selection of extras as it goes. Whilst in the extras selection mode the songs from the film are played in the background with a part of the screen playing the music video whilst you make your choice.
A fairly entertaining film, again one far from the usual fare one would expect from Bollywood. One thing which stood out is the fact that I guessed the ending correctly 20 minutes before the end and was somewhat pleased that I was 100% correct in my reasoning (maybe it was due to all those years of reading lots of Agatha Christie books) but then again it could be that there were too many clues dropped in during the film which made the ending seem obvious to me.
I enjoyed the film just enough to give it a high 5 out of 10. I wouldn't want to watch it again though and am glad I borrowed it from my parents rather than pay the full price for my own DVD version.
Aksar = Often = was how many times I wondered where the silly storyline came from!
Overall rather than recommending that you don't watch the film, I'd just about say give it a try just to see how bizarre the story is!
Follows the story of a photographer in search of love and passion in the form of a sexy siren. Includes music, action and suspense.