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Aashayein is the story of Rahul (John Abraham), a gambler. He collapses down just after his long-time girlfriend Nafisa(Sonal Sehgal) accepts his marriage proposal. Later, on medical check-up, it is revealed that Rahul has got Lung Cancer, presumably by his smoking habits, and that he has got only 3 more months to live.
Nafisa asks Rahul to marry her, but Rahul rejects. Later, Rahul finds a news about a rehabilitation centre for persons with such incurable diseases. Rahul silently runs away from his girlfriend, leaving back most of the money he earned, for her. Once Rahul gets into the centre, he meets several people like Parthasarthi (Girish Karnad) who speaks with the help of a metal tube because of his cancer, Madhu (Farida Jalal) who was a former Prostitute and an AIDS patient now, Padma (Anaitha Nair) a teenage girl with lot of dreams, but no life to fulfil them, she cant even walk properly, Govinda (Ashwin Chitale) a comic loving kid, who is said to have certain higher capabilities and everybody treats him as a messenger of God. The relationship between Rahul and each of these persons grow with time, and one day Rahul coughs hard and struggles for breath, and he goes to Govinda’s room and falls down there.
Next day when Rahul wakes up, Govinda offers him mangoes, and he tells him a story. The story was similar to the story of Rahul’s dreams, in which he portrayed himself as Indiana Jones. In the story he is in a mission to free many souls who are chain-locked, and to get the keys of those locks, he needs to find a key of a box, in which all the keys are there. Rahul imagines himself to be Indiana Jones, and Parthasarathy, Madhu etc as the locked spirits, and Padma as a spirit who motivates Rahul to find the key.
Later, he realizes that the key to open the box is his heart only, and his love is the key to open all the other chainlocks. He then arranges a beach program with Padma, in the program, he brings a band troupe who sings a song about living in the present moment. Noted actor Shreyas Talpade appears as the lead singer in this song. After that, Rahul asks everybody to write down their one wish and put it in a pot. Then he and Padma exchanges their wishes. They together fulfils everybody’s wishes, and meanwhile Rahul and Padma were about to be in a physical relationship, but Rahul regrets and rejects. Padma gets angry and throws off her wig to Rahul, and then only we come to know that the teenage girl is bald, due to her disease. Then Padma’s condition gets worse, and Rahul looks for her wish pot. He finds that her last wish is to make love with Rahul. Rahul agrees and kisses Padma, and she dies at the moment.
Later, Rahul finds an Indiana Jones costume in his room, which he wished for long, and had written and given to Padma. Later, Rahul’s condition gets worse, and Nafisa re-enters the story at that moment. It is revealed that Padma had called Nafisa before her death and asked her to look after Rahul.
Meanwhile, Rahul is in desperate search of some ‘Naksha’ (Treasure Map) which Govinda had told him to find. He then realizes the Naksha is near some waterfall, and the closing scene of the movie shows Rahul and Nafisa going in a car, presumably they might have decided to spend the final days of his life near that waterfall.
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