A Triple Return—Aashiqui, Anurag Basu, Pritam back with Vishesh Films

Anurag Basu, Kartik Aaryan, Pritam, Mukesh Bhatt & Bhushan Kumar are the Aashiqui 3 team. Photo: Instagram / Kartik Aaryan

The Vishesh Films banner belonging to Mukesh and Mahesh Bhatt has been under a cloud for a long while now, with Aashiqui 2, the sequel in spirit to their 1990 film Aashiqui being their last hit.

Their subsequent films, including Citylights, Love Games, Mr. X, Khamoshiyan Raaz Reboot, Begum Jaan, Sadak 2, Jalebi (on OTT) and even their web series Ranjish Hi Sahi have been poorly received. Their earlier gravy train began with Aashiqui and went on to include successes, hits and blockbusters like Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin, Sadak, Sir, Criminal, Naajayaz, Fareb, Kasoor, Raaz, Murder, Zeher, Kalyug, Gangster, Jannat, Raaz—The Mystery Continues, Murder 2, Jannat 2 and Raaz 3.

This morning, Aashiqui 3, the third installment of the hit franchise that bailed them out in both 1990 (after Kabzaa did just ho-hum business and Jurm flopped) and 2013 was announced with Mukesh Bhatt joining hands yet again with T-Series after the earlier two films in this franchise as well as Sadak and the flops Jaanam and Junoon.

This film had been planned a while ago with Sidharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt and director Mohit Suri (who helmed the sequel and many other movies for Vishesh Films), but apparently everything has changed since. It now stars Kartik Aaryan with the leading lady yet to be announced.

The original Aashiqui, a musical hit, featured debutants Anu Aggarwal and Rahul Roy, and was directed by Mahesh Bhatt with a brilliant music score by Nadeem-Shravan. It was produced by the founder of T-Series, Gulshan Kumar, for whom too it was his maiden hit as a film producer (Lal Dupatta Malmal Ka was his video hit in 1989). Aashiqui 2 featured Shraddha Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur and was directed by Mohit Suri with music by Jeet Gannguli, Mithoon and Ankit Tiwari.

Kartik Aaryan told Variety, “The timeless classic Aashiqui is something I grew up watching and working on Aashiqui 3 is like a dream come true. I feel privileged yet grateful collaborating with Bhushan Kumar and Mukesh Bhatt for this opportunity. I’ve been a big fan of Anurag Basu’s work and collaborating with him on this one will definitely shape me in many ways.”

Besides the hit franchise, however, two other entities, big in their own rights, return to Vishesh Films: Anurag Basu (after 2006!) and composer Pritam (after 2013). Anurag was introduced as director in Saaya (2003) by the Bhatts and his first blockbuster was Murder (2004) also produced by them. He later directed Tumsa Nahin Dekha and Gangster for them.

Gangster, in turn, marked Pritam’s entry into Vishesh Films for a long collaboration that included Woh Lamhe…, Awarapan, Tum Mile, the two films in the Jannat franchise and Murder 3.

Pritam has been a constant feature since then with Anurag (Life In A…Metro, Barfi!, Jagga Jasoos, Ludo) and has worked with Kartik in Love Aaj Kal (2020) with Shehzada to come.




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