Aisha, 2010

Directed by: Rajshree Ojha

I have to preface this by telling you all that I am an Austen devotee, and that my favorite of her novels is in fact, Emma (eat that, Pride and Prejudice!). And we’re not going to delve further into the fact that I always keep a copy of it in my purse at all times, because frankly, even I understand how awkward that sounds.

There are a lot of facets of Emma’s personality that often are misunderstood and warped far out of context. She’s fickle, languid, rich, well liked, spoiled, capricious, scheming and prone to feelings of superiority, no doubt because almost everyone aligns themselves with her whims, but of all the things I think she is, I do not, DO NOT, perceive her as shallow and uncaring.

So why, why, must she be continued to be adapted as such? Perhaps it is easier to adapt the book and its characters into it’s”Victorian”* time period, but you cannot tell me that people such as are found in Austen’s novels don’t exist today. That is the beauty of her work, we all see shadows of people we know in all of her characters…

Perhaps I’m on the defensive because my shoulders are currently killing me, OR because I really relate to Emma’ character and see a lot of myself in her.

Yes, it’s Bollywood, yes it’s a carbon copy of Clueless and, yes it’s utter brainless, fluffy, gooey goodness.  I was actually REALLY on-board with this enactment until the last 20 minutes or so. The film had a good pace, pretty people, pretty dresses, pretty people wearing pretty dresses doing pretty things. But then when Aisha storms into a wedding and declares her love to Arjun in typical RomCom-on-a-microphone-interrupting-a-wedding style I just lost all interest.  Here was our heroine, who up until that moment was confident, cocky, and all around independent (at least emotionally), suddenly declaring that she was nothing without this man around to give her personal worth.

Please note, I have never really had this reaction, but it just seemed so far out of her character that I literally went slack-jawed and shook my head. Where was the sparkling, devil-may-care Aisha that was on screen for the previous 2 hours?  She was gone just like that, and I was so terribly disappointed.

Towards the end I kept getting this film and I Hate Luv Stories mixed up, I couldn’t figure out if the characters were making fun of themselves or not, there was something internally that just died later on in the film and left me feeling totally blue-balled (sorry). The film went from “Fun Superficial Self-Awareness” to “Mopey Dopey Superficial Ambiguity”.

Now I am no grate admirer of Sonam Kapoor, but I don’t dislike her either. In my IHLS post I said that she’s just good at being cute, and really, she’s just good at being cute. Perhaps it’s her characters in the two films but she lacks a sort of gritty quality that I tend to really latch onto with an actor/actress. She is, in every sense of the word, safe.

As far as the Abhay Deol feelings, I just have this to say: Sorry, but I prefer Bobby. That and when emulating my dream man, Mr. Knightley, I just don’t find it fair to judge the person because who can blame them when they fall so, so terribly short? It’s not their fault…Well, it is, but it’s like contrasting Chanel and Coach and really, there is no comparison.

Speaking of Chanel, I always get tickled when people in fillums “own” what I own, and I was happy to see the very Quilted black leather bag that I kiss every night before I go to sleep. I own a truck load of Chanel, but that one is my very favorite.

I should have known that any spawn of Lillette Dubey was going to run away with my dil. Ira Dubey, I love you. I’m so glad you have your mother’s voice, please, please, please, make more films and keep being so fantastic.

BUT, for me, Amrita Puri totally stole the show. I could have watched just her for the entire film. Can we say scene stealer? She’s wonderful. He comedic timing, simplicity and effervescence just popped off the screen and charmed me. Can we keep her Bollywood, pleeeeeaseeee? She was the most 3-Dimensional person in the film and her character really held it together for me. Love, love, love!

I don’t know that I’ll pay to own this movie, but it was good enough to see in a packed theater house with enthusiastic Desi audience members who laughed at jokes I didn’t get because the subtitles were THAT AWFUL, but then again, I also had the pleasure of running into a Twitter Pal accidentally (which is alarmingly surreal, by the way) and it made for a nice evening out.

Go see it if your an Austen fan, if you like RomCommey stuff, if you’re really into Abhay Deol (and I know a lot of you are), go see it with girlfriends, because it’s just a girlfriendy-let-us-stay-in-and-give-ourselves-crap-manicures kinda film.

*All the press on this film has referred to the novel as being set in Victorian England. Try the Regency people, it was an era about 100 years before the Victorian age… oh, and it’s when the novels were actually written and set.  Example

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4 thoughts on “Aisha, 2010

  1. Eep! The Regency is just barely a decade in the 1800s…so not a whole century before some of the Victorian age – though lord didn't it go on forever!Though personally I find it miles away aesthetically. :) Okay now I go back and read the rest of your post – you KNOW how I have to follow up on footnotes.

  2. Well, to be obsessively nit picky, the stereotypical "Victorian Age" i.e. the grim, repressed age didn't begin until 20 plus years into Victoria's reign, after Albert's death, and was at its zenith (the Jane Eyre mores) closer to her death – and although the Regency only properly lasted a decade or so, the old King was increasingly demented and the prince was a defacto Regent before he had it formally declared, so the period lasted much longer in spirit if not name and then there was his reign as King too. So I guess the 100 yr thing is wrong but only on a technicality. Not that I'm obsessed with literature from this period or anything.

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