Ever since its announcement, Aankhen had turned out to be one of the most awaited films of the year. After all, three A’s were coming together for the film – Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar and Arjun Rampal. A heist thriller, it was also unique since apart from Amitabh Bachchan, each of the other three protagonists (including Paresh Rawal) was playing a blind man. Together, they had to loot a bank with help from Sushmita Sen, who played their guide. Vipul Shah was making his debut as a director with the remake of his Gujarati play Andhalo Pato.
Hence, it was surprising when the film didn’t open as well as expected on its release 18 years ago on 5th April 2002. It just about managed to cross the 1 crore mark on its opening day which was plain average. Surprisingly, since the film’s promo had resulted in good excitement and quite a few songs [Gustakhiyan, Kuch Kasme, title song ‘Aankhen‘] had already turned popular.
Things changed post the weekend though as word of mouth started spreading around the thriller. Amitabh Bachchan’s brooding act was much loved and Akshay Kumar too gave a very good account of himself as a blind protagonist. Arjun Rampal was reliable too and had a very good part to play while Paresh Rawal brought in a mix of humor as well as emotional appeal. As for the leading ladies, Sushmita Sen was apt while Bipasha Basu sizzled in her cameo.
What was appreciated most was the thrilling narrative which was put together by Vipul Shah. With ample twists and turns out there, there were in fact two endings shot for the film. One was a closed ending which made it to the theaters whereas an open-ended sequence was also shot which can be found online. That gives ample scope for the sequel to be made.
The film also boasted of very good use of exciting background score and it was also noted for its editing by Shirish Kunder which was new for that time and period. In weeks to come, the film sustained well and more than doubled its first week of 7 crores to close around the 18 crores mark. This ensured that there were profits for all involved with the film.
Producer Gaurang Doshi has been quite gung ho around the film’s sequel which has been announced a couple of times already. While it is a given that Amitabh Bachchan would be returning with Aankhen 2, Anees Bazmee has been signed to helm the project. For over a year though there has been no movement on the project and one waits to see whether Aankhen 2 would indeed see the light of the day.