Aankhen (2002 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Vipul Amrutlal Shah|
|Produced by||Gaurang Doshi|
|Screenplay by||Aatish Kapadia
Vipul Amrutlal Shah
|Story by||Aatish Kapadia
Vipul Amrutlal Shah
|Music by||Jatin Lalit
|Edited by||Shirish Kunder|
|Distributed by||V R Films|
|Release date(s)||15 April 2002|
|Running time||165 min.|
|Box office||471.9 million (US$7.8 million)|
Aankhen (Hindi: आँखें, Urdu: آنکھیں, translation: Eyes) is a 2002 Bollywood heist thriller dramafilm directed by debutant Vipul Amrutlal Shah and starring an ensemble cast of Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Arjun Rampal, Paresh Rawal and Sushmita Sen in the lead roles, while Bipasha Basu and Kashmira Shah appear in cameos. The film is an adaptation of Shah's own Gujarati play Andhalo Pato (Blindman's Buff).
The film tells the story of Vijay Singh Rajput (Bachchan) a hard-working but temperamental man, who has spent all his life working for one bank and even achieving them International recognition. When Vijay loses his mind and goes on a violent rampage beating up another employee, he is subsequently fired. He decides to take vengeance by organising a full on heist, and having the same bank robbed by three blind men, as no one will suspect them.
Aankhen had its worldwide premiere in Malaysia at the 3rd IIFA Awards ceremony on 5 April 2002. Upon release Aankhen received acclaim from critics and cinema-goers alike, for its unusual storyline, well executed direction and acting, with Bachchan and Akshay Kumar drawing maximum accolades for their performances. The film performed moderately well at the box office and was nominated in several award categories in 2002/03, although it didn't win any.
Obsessive and temperamental bank manager Vijay Singh Rajput (Bachchan) loses his job after badly beating up a bank clerk who tried to embezzle money. Angered at losing his job he plots revenge on the bank by intending to stage a heist. He employs three blind men – Vishwas (Kumar),a blind person who has the power of the sixth sense, Ilyaas (Rawal) and Arjun (Rampal) — when, after passing by school for the blind, he understands that blind people can be trained to do things like sighted people. He blackmails and enlists the help of Neha (Sushmita Sen) who is a teacher at the school to train the trio to do the seemingly impossible heist. He chose blind people because they as robbers would never be suspected as no one would believe blind people can rob a bank.
The bank robbery is successful, with the jewels safely captured by the three. However, in the process of robbing the bank, Ilyaas's face is exposed, captured in footage and prompting city-wide posters with his face. Meanwhile, Mr. Rajput anxiously tries to extort information from Vishwas and Arjun regarding the jewels and their location. Unable to answer, as they did not collect the items, they try to defer the answer by changing subjects. Ultimately, it is revealed that Ilyaas is the one with complete knowledge of the box's belongings. Meanwhile, tensions rise between Rajput and Neha; the latter resists the abusive nature of Rajput and his obnoxious harassing of Vishwas and Arjun. Arjun confesses his love to Neha, who reveals that she is associated in the plot only for the well-being of her younger brother, Rahul, who has been kidnapped by Rajput.
In a furious attempt, the police try to locate Ilyaas. Ilyaas lands up at Rajput's place after getting drunk. Rajput tries several ways to force Ilyaas into revealing the location of the box. Unable to generate an answer, he slams Ilyaas, who falls on the ground and injures his eyes, causing bleeding. Even in this scenario, Rajput tries to get the information, but Vishwas and Arjun resist and claim that they will reveal the location if Ilyaas is treated by paramedics. Rajput send them to get Dr. Siddiqui. Vishwas senses that Ilyaas is in danger and Arjun and Vishwas double back to the training center to save him. Rajput starts to harass Ilyaas by tickling him to force him to reveal the answer. In the action, Ilyaas falls of the balcony and dies. Unable to bear the shock of the death, Neha pulls a gun on Rajput and threatens to reveal everything to the police if he does not leave her and the other two alone. Rajput notifies Neha that all these acts were done under her training, and he is spotless. Unable to bear this fact, Neha shoots herself, just as Vishwas and Arjun return after hearing loud screams.
Both men gang up on Rajput and try to attack him. Once Rajput realises that the men are ignorant about the jewels, he starts shooting them. The police arrive, and confusion ensues. Vishwas and Arjun come out and claim that Rajput is abusing them while he claims that there is a big conspiracy involving the two men, Neha and Ilyaas. Unable to believe that blind men can ransack a bank and amidst Rajput's impassioned defence, the police start getting suspicious. In the heat of defending himself, Rajput reveals that he had sent over Ilyaas, thus confessing his crime.
In the end Rajput is locked away. Vishwas and Arjun decide to take care of Rahul and ultimately find the jewels – they were hidden in Ilyaas' musical instrument.
In an alternate ending for overseas viewers Rajput bribes the cop and is set free. Vishwas and Arjun are sitting in a train (waiting for it to depart) and Rajput is standing on the platform with a smile on his face. He then warns them that "A dangerous game is about to begin", after which Vishwas and Arjun both draw their guns, before the film then ends.
- Akshay Kumar as Vishwas Prajapati
- Amitabh Bachchan as Vijay Singh Rajput
- Sushmita Sen as Neha Srivastav
- Arjun Rampal as Arjun Verma
- Paresh Rawal as Iliyas
- Arun Bali as Mr. Goenka
- Aditya Pancholi as the Police Inspector
- Ajit Vachani as Mr. Bandari
- Bipasha Basu as Raina (Cameo)
- Kashmira Shah in a special appearance in song "Chalka Chalka"
- Shreyas Talpade as Mushtaq (Chaiwallah / Tea seller on railway station)
- Paresh Ganatra as Shailesh
- Daya Shankar Pandey as Taxi Driver
- Amit Bhatt as Prem
The film's working title was "All The Best" but was later changed for numerology reasons and to better suit Indian audiences. Originally Raveena Tandon was cast for the role of Neha, but she was unexpectedly dropped and replaced by Sushmita Sen. Sen in turn made a lot of preparations for her role as a teacher to the blind. She visited schools for the blind and interacted with the students for a more-realistic feel to her role.
Aankhen received mostly positive reviews from critics. Priya Ganapati from Rediff.com said,
- "Just when you have given up on Hindi films after the last round of disastrous flicks like Kya Yehi Pyaar Hai, Durga and Vadh, there comes a film that restores your faith in Bollywood. Aankhen is different from your usual Hindi flick. It is a fast-paced, slick thriller, a species rarely encountered in the annals of the Hindi film industry".
Akshay Shah of Planet-Bollywood said,
- "Aankhen is a roller coaster ride, which is not to be missed. The film is a trendsetter for Indian films much like Dil Chahta Hai, Aks and Lagaan, and is certainly a relief after highly disappointing films this year so far. The film abounds in great performances, a breakneck pace and technical finesse. Despite its drawbacks, those are enough to indulge in a few hours of this highly entertaining "dangerous game".
N K Deoshi of Apunkachoice rated it 3 out 5 saying,
- "The film is a slickly paced thriller and maintains a unidirectional approach towards the climax without straying off into ridiculous realms. However, it loses its pace a little bit during the training session of the three blind men (under the tutelage of Sushmita Sen). On the flip side the director might have given more footage to the actual robbery. Anyway, the film keeps one glued to the screen until the very end".Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama gave it 2 out of 5 stars.
Aankhen opened well at the Indian box office. The film made Rs 471.9 million net altogether and was declared an "above average" grosser. It was also the fourth-highest-grossing Bollywood film of 2002. The film was also a success in South Africa, opening to packed houses and grossing $14,600 on the weekend, despite a limited release. However in the United Kingdom, the film was an outright disaster, due to tough competition from Hollywood films.
|1.||Amitabh Solilogi||Amitabh Bachchan, Sonu Nigam & Remo Fernandes|
|2.||Gustakhiyan||Aadesh Shrivastava & Vasundhara Das|
|3.||Kuchh Kasme||Sonu Nigam & Alka Yagnik|
|4.||Theme Music||Remo Fernandes|
|5.||Phatela Jeb||Arun Bakshi, Aadesh Shrivastava & Nitin Raikwar|
|6.||Chalka Chalka||Alka Yagnik & Udit Narayan|
|7.||Nazron Ne Teri||Kavita Krishnamurthy & Udit Narayan|
|8.||All The Best||Remo Fernandes|
- 48th Filmfare Awards
- Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor – Amitabh Bachchan
- Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Comic Role – Paresh Rawal
- 9th Annual Star Screen Awards
- Star Screen Award for Best Film
- Screen Award for Best Comedian – Paresh Rawal
- Screen Award for Best Villain – Amitabh Bachchan
The film broiled into controversy when producer Doshi did not give the director Shah any credit on the films DVD. The fallout had began between the two on the sets of the film, after a number of creative differences, which led to allegations of plagiarism and counter-allegations. The DVD's front cover had Doshi's name written on it and the back cover had the director's name as Vipul Doshi instead of Vipul Shah. Shah then decided to legal action against Doshi, who refused to take responsibility for the director’s missing credit.
Between 2004/05, two bank robberies occurred on Mira Road in Maharashtra by a man named Feroz Sheikh and several accomplices, who were said to have been inspired by the film. The robbers took of several lakh rupees (100,000), and planned to use it to start a business. The culprits were eventually nabbed but not all the money was recovered.
A computer game based on film was created for promotional purposes in a tie in with IndiaFM and Hungama.com (Now collectively known as Bollywood Hungama). It was launched at the IIFA press conference on 14 March 2002. The game is now easily available to find on the internet.
The sequel was first announced in 2006 and has been in production since shortly after the release on Aankhen. The director Shah was dropped due to differences with producer Doshi, and directing duties will be taken over by Sachin. Pre-production work has been wrapped up, but shooting is yet to begin as Bachchan has been unable to give dates due to his health declining. The film not retain the original cast with the exception of Bachchan, and is likely to go on floors at the end of 2012.
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- Sukanya Verma (19 March 2002). "A Game with no Rules". Rediff.com. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
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- "Nominees- The 51st Filmfare Awards". Indiatimes. Retrieved 16 July 2011.
- Dharam Pal (29 December 2002). "The Aankhen row". The Tribune. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- "Aankhen-style robbers' leader held". Mid Day. 20 January 2005. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
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- Nikhil Kumar (13 September 2006). "'Aankhen' sequel : Amitabh in, Akshay out!". Apunkachoice. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- Priyanka Srivastava (13 March 2012). "No Aankhen sequel if ill Big B doesn't take projects". Dailymail. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- "'Aankhen' sequel to go on floors soon". Times of India. 10 March 2012.