‘Yeh Saali Aashiqui’ Is a Tale of Vengeance Dipped in Misogyny
In Cherag Ruparel’s Yeh Saali Aashiqui, there is a passing shot of the hero feeding pigeons. It has no real bearing on the story. And one would have to let it go except that the hero is the grandson of late actor Amrish Puri. Now, this particular scene stands out because it almost seems like a cinematic tribute the debutant hero Vardhan Puri pays to his grandfather Amrish Puri by doffing his hat to the famous pigeon scene in DDLJ.
The Cherag Ruparel directorial, which hit theatres on 29 November, is a nifty thriller that deals with psychological breakdown and meditates upon the nature of pure unadulterated evil. Sahil Mathur (Vardhan Puri) and Mittee Deora (Shivaleeka Oberoi) are class mates studying hotel management. After a little incident, a seed of doubt is sowed in Sahil’s mind as he begins to question Mittee’s loyalties. What follows is a series of lies that forces the audience to keep going back and forth between believing and doubting the intentions of the characters.
Though Puri Jr. has considerable interest and curiosity surrounding him, it’s Shivaleeka Oberoi who leaves a lasting impression as the vile and cunning Mittee.
Director Cherag Ruparel, who has also written the screenplay along with Vardhan Puri, knits an elaborate tapestry stained with revenge and betrayal. It’s arresting all right, but the evident misogyny that begins to surface in in the second half of the film makes us question what the makers actually want to say.
Now, a smooth-talking woman whose charm no one can escape sure is an enticing character but the moment we generalise her deviousness and attribute it to all women, we are feeding the kind of thought process that propagates misogyny. This is the tight rope walk that the film failed to achieve.
However the newcomers do a fine job. Shivaleeka particularly is astonishingly convincing and the many shades and moods of Mittee are portrayed with command. Vardhan, on the other hand, tries hard but in scenes that need him to showcase the defining features of his character, like indignant anger and impetuousness, his lack of experience somehow comes through .
Overall, Yeh Saali Aashiqui is gripping for most parts. The music, particularly the rap, compliments the overall tonality of the film. With themes like vengeance, the film is an exploration of manipulative human nature. But if only the misogyny could have been filtered out, Yeh Saali Aashiqui could have been a much better experience.
(The Quint is now available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)