OK, so by now we all know that Vikram Bhatt's 'Ankahee' has shades of Mahesh Bhatt's 'Arth'. Point noted and well taken! Now let's move on to see what does the film has to say on its own merits. Does it make the audience feel for the characters, the situations, the story or does it come across as yet another drama of obsession/infidelity?
Thankfully it does manage to come closest to the former and it does reasonably well in touching your heart! As expected, Vikram Bhatt-Aftab Shivdasani combo hit it well yet again after 'Kasoor' that again had intense emotional appeal. And this time again the director has extracted a knockout performance from Aftab Shivdasani who plays his real self rather well in the film. Vulnerable, gullible, susceptible to wrong decision making - overall the character of a human being who somewhere inside him knows that what he is doing is wrong but still attempts to (unsuccessfully) justify his acts.
That's Shekhar [Aftab] for you - a man with a beautiful wife Nandita [Amisha Patel] and a young daughter named Sheena. A doctor by profession, he could be any other 30 something handsome man living in the house/apartment next door. But situations weren't really the same for him as any other average man!
He comes across a celebrity Kavya [Esha Deol], who is a Miss world and a successful Bollywood star with suicidal tendencies. As a result of one of such suicide attempts, she finds herself with Shekhar in his hospital and the world is not the same for them again. Sparks fly and Shekhar finds himself getting attracted to Kavya. For Kavya, Shekhar becomes THE only man she could trust, rely upon and love. Overtly dependant and possessive about him, she now starts demanding her place in Shekhars's life as a permanent means that brings him to a win-loose situation. Choose one of the ladies and loose another!
Little did he know that he was on a loose-loose situation!
While Nandita does everything that she can to get her husband back, everything goes in vain. And then she makes a decision.
There have been countless movies about infidelity and obsession in the past, so what is it that still makes 'Ankahee' and interesting tale? It's subtle moments sans any unwanted 'shor sharaaba'. With a subject like this, the film could have easily become a high voltage dramatic affair but director Bhatt clearly steers away from any of such clichÃ©d means of depicting emotions. Instead he plays it subtle and lets the body language, dialogue delivery, camerawork, look of the frames, background music and songs help him narrate a story. In fact at places, the way camera moves at an extra slow pace gives an impression of influences from European cinema!
Each of the three lead actors has a part to play in the film's narrative and none of them disappoint at all. Aftab proves yet again that he is one under rated actor who just needs the right director to extract a good performance out of him. Also, despite his age, he has somehow performed best when he has played a man elder than his real age [Kasoor and now Ankahee]. Esha Deol may not really term 'Ankahee' as the role of her life as a psycho/obsessive/possessive character has been beaten to death since the time Shah Rukh Khan started it all in 'Darr'. But it is to her credit that she never once let the grip of the narrative get loose due to any blemish on her part. She may not look the most glamorous to suit the role of a Miss World but still does reasonably well to not come as a caricature. Amisha Patel sinks her teeth into a powerful character after a long time. While it looked that she would again end up in a wailing avtar (just as in most of her recent films), the shades that her character takes in the latter stages of the film manage some brownie points for her.
Pritam's music works extremely