Aankhen, released in 2002, is widely regarded as one of the best heist thriller films ever made in Bollywood. It took everyone by surprise. Directed by Vipul Amrutlal Shah, the film features Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Sushmita Sen, Arjun Rampal and Paresh Rawal in the lead roles. Aditya Pancholi plays a naïve cop in the movie. The film is an adaptation of Shah’s own Gujarati play Andhalo Pato (Blindman’s Buff). In fact, the producers wanted to name the film ‘Aankh Micholi’ but the title was registered with another producer.
The film revolves around the revenge of Vijay Singh Rajput’s (Amitabh Bachchan) a hard-working but temperamental man, who has spent all his life working for one bank and even achieving International recognition. When Vijay loses his mind and goes on a violent rampage beating up another employee, he is subsequently fired. Then he takes vengeance by looting the bank by three blind men, to be trained by Neha (Sushmita Sen), a blind school teacher.
The idea of robbing a bank by three blind men clicked with the audience. In fact, like the police in the film, people thought it impossible. Aankhen, which had its worldwide premiere in Malaysia at the 3rd IIFA Awards ceremony on April 5, 2002, was critically acclaimed and loved by cinema-goers. It was for its unusual and unique storyline, well-executed direction, and, above all, acting. Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar especially drew maximum accolades for their superb performances. The film was nominated in several award categories in 2002-03. It was while filming Namastey London when Vipul Shah learned that his film Aankhen was the second-highest grosser film in the year 2002.
Amitabh Bachchan plays the role of a temperamental and schizophrenic bank manager. He forces Neha by kidnapping her little brother to train Vishwas (Akshay Kumar), a blind person who has the power of the sixth sense, Illyaas (Paresh Rawal) and Arjun (Arjun Rampal) to loot the bank. Vijay Singh Rajput blackmails Neha to train the trio to do the seemingly impossible heist. She makes the impossible possible.
It is in the second half of the film when Vijay reveals his true character and he, who says ‘promises are meant to be broken’, breaks all his promises. He kills Illyaas. Neha shoots herself, leaving Vishwas and Arjun in the lurch. Later, it is their blindness, which saves them. None believes in Vijay’s words when he says it was Neha who trained these men to rob the bank. The execution of the bank robbery is an integral part of the film and the audience loves to see it again and again.