Aisha - Movie Review
Beneath the bold strokes of rouge, one is likely to find pallor. Likewise, beneath the opulent, Austentatious, chic look of Aisha, one unsurprisingly stumbles upon a gem of a story flimsily told. About 200 years after it first took life on paper from the ever productive pen of Jane Austen, ‘Emma’ comes to life once again (Hollywood has already done it) on the silver screen in director Rajshree Ojha’s film Aisha, starring Sonam Kapoor as its titular protagonist.
Set in the high society of Delhi, it’s the story of a rich, privileged girl with truckloads of designer costumes, lots of free time and an irrepressible fixation to play cupid between people who would rather be happy left alone. Aisha (Sonam) is surrounded by a bunch of friends who patronize her, pamper her, irritate her, peeve her, drool over her and also become a vocation for her.
There’s Arjun (Abhay Deol), an investment banker, who keeps giving Aisha reality checks and is the source of unending annoyance and irritation for her. There’s the spunky Pinky (Ira Dubey), Aisha’s best friend who speaks out her mind without being obsequious. There’s the small-town girl Shefali (Amrita Puri) who’s come to Delhi to get married. Aisha takes her under her wing and tries to fix up her match with possible suitors, including Randhir Gambhir (Cyrus Sahukar) the son of a mithai baron. There’s the charming Dhruv (Arunoday Singh), a London-returned hunk for whom Aisha develops a liking. And then, there’s Aarti (Lisa Haydon), a gorgeous, sexy chick who is a close friend of Arjun, but an object of jealousy for Aisha.
The first half of the film whooshes past in character introductions and also the matchmaking antics of the eponymous heroine. Aisha’s a breeze of fresh air. Her eye always on the lookout for opposite genders to make a match with. And Sonam, with her affected mannerisms, is perfectly suited to play the part. They way she simpers, puckers up her face or raises a brow has every hint of the superficiality of high class gentry. To that effect, Sonam performs well.
The second half of the film becomes somewhat a mess when the castle of Aisha’s creation comes crumbling down like a house of cards and the relationships go kaput. The track between Arjun and Aarti (Abhay and Lisa) and Aisha and Dhruv (Sonam and Arunoday) isn’t as perky as could have been and the jealousy pangs that the two lead stars get out of it aren’t really plausible. In fact, the film’s pace slackens but the proceedings do speed up again after Aisha does soul searching and realizes her love for Arjun.
There are some sequences that stand out (like Aisha’s confession, or Shefali’s outburst, or the Aisha-Arjun tiffs) but the script takes a few liberties that are hard to stomach. For instance, Pinky (Ira Dubey) and Randhir (Cyrus), who can’t stand each other in the entire movie, suddenly find they are in love with each other.
Thanks to the performances by Ira Dubey (confident and feisty), Cyrus Sahukar (unintentionally funny as usual) and Amrita Puri (shy, homely and funny with her punju accent), such anomalies don’t put you off. Abhay Deol fits his role well but doesn’t have anything challenging to do. Lisa Haydon and Arunoday have little to do than look pretty.
Aisha’s real strength lies in its look and styling. Designers Pernia Qureshi and Kunal Rawal have created, or copied, or bought excellent outfits for every character. Had it not been for their contribution the movie wouldn’t have been as good looking. Music by Amit Trivedi is another strength.
Director Rajshree Ojha has adapted Jane Austen’s timeless tale to Delhi’s elite milieu well enough, but hasn’t explored the dynamics of relationships with the subtlety that characterizes every Austen work. Still ‘Aisha’ is fun to watch with popcorn and cola.
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5