"I have not seen the film. Maybe because I am no longer that close to Mahesh Bhatt saab. During the last 12 to 13 years we just drifted apart. If I had seen it, I'd be better positioned to comment on it," said Rahul, who had made his debut with "Aashiqui" in 1990.
"As things stand, when I'm asked about it I can only conjecture. As far as I can see, there is very little connection between my 'Aashiqui' and this film except that shot of the lovers' faces hidden in the coat. But the impact of that moment is so great that people immediately connected the two films.
"However, in my opinion nostalgia is impossible to beat. And like it or not, 'Aashiqui' is in the region of nostalgia," he added.
Rahul believes the magic of his "Aashiqui" with actress Anu Agarwal can't be recreated.
"It's bizarre. 'Aashiqui' is a brilliant monkey on my shoulder. And I don't think that magic can be recreated. The music of 'Aashiqui' by Nadeem-Shravan was unbeatable. However, I like the songs in 'Aashiqui 2'. For once, I can understand the songs and lyrics in a contemporary score.
"But if you're going to tell me that this music can be compared with the original 'Aashiqui', then I'm sorry that can't happen. 'Aashiqui' was magic. Even after 23 years, they are still hummed.
"I remember within three days of the music release, people went berserk over the music. I haven't seen that kind of craze for any film soundtrack. And mind you, we didn't have 200 television channels to promote it. I still say, 'Aashiqui 2' should be able to stand on its own. But it won't match the craze of the original," he said.
Rahul admits he hasn't kept in touch with his Aashiqui co-stars.
"I haven't been able to keep in touch with Anu Aggarwal. But Deepak Tijori was with me in 'Bigg Boss'. Very honestly, we all are busy. But we care for one another. I have to confess I am wary of introducing myself to the newer lot of actors," he said.
Speaking of Mahesh Bhatt, Rahul said: "I've always treated him like a father-figure. But I am no longer the 24-year old boy I was during 'Aashiqui'. Fifteen years ago, I was deeply attached to Mahesh Bhatt and his banner Vishesh Films. I did five films with them. They were like my home turf.
"Every time I had a career low, I could go back to them. Finally though I had to face the world on my own. When I started my spiritual journey, I realised I had to cut away from all attachment. I had to face facts. If I did a bad film, I bloody well had to face the music. My dependence on Vishesh Films is gone. But that doesn't mean my love and respect for them has also diminished."
He says: "If they offer me a film, I'd do it, but I can no longer knock on their doors asking for work."
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