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Upperstall Review

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Aisha

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Hindi, Drama, Romance, 2010, Color





Aisha (Sonam Kapoor) is a girl with a simple diktat - everyone's business is her business. Arjun (Abhay Deol) is a boy with even a simpler set of beliefs - Aisha should mind her own business. Caught in the Delhi upper class world with its own set of social rules, Aisha navigates her world with a great sense of style and even greater optimism. Caught in her web are her best friend Pinky (Ira Dubey), the small town girl Shefali (Amrita Puri), the west Delhi boy Randhir (Cyrus Sahukar) and the hunk Dhruv (Arunoday Singh). Aisha will make sure everyone dances to her tune. And all Arjun wants to do is disentangle that web and get Aisha out of an impending sticky mess...



In Hollywood, Jane Austen has been an inspiration to rom-coms and chick flicks for several decades besides providing fodder for Oscar winning period dramas. And like all good formulae in Hollywood, Austen finally takes the leap to mainstream Bollywood with Aisha, a retro-fitted rendition of Emma.

Perhaps the most memorable adaptation of the classic was Clueless, starring the foxy Alicia Silverstone because of its light-heartedness and sheer cuteness. On the other hand you have Douglas McGrath's Oscar-winning impeccable execution of the book in '96. Aisha, strangely, seems stuck between the two worlds. While there is a considerable amount of tomfoolery with scenes in nightclubs and white water rafting; you are uncomfortable transported to a Victorian world with suitcases and hatboxes and perfect gentlemen.

Because you might be wary into what you might be getting into, Em... Aisha starts of on a spunky note with a song adeptly establishing the setting. The tempo keeps up as we are introduced to the characters and when the second song is done not 15 minutes later you're literally looking around to see if everyone is as impressed as you are: the tempo is pacy, the characters are in rhythm, songs are actually taking the story forward, the look is just right, and Sonam Kapoor has a sparkling screen presence.

Too good to be true? Yes. Alas, signs of a weak screenplay start emerging as soon as the characters (who've been established by text on screen) start speaking monologues to themselves (it'd be so much better if they'd actually looked into camera, beyond the fourth wall) and the next thing you know, you're staring down at another 90 minutes of predictability played out by 2D characters. By the end of it you're so tired of the cliches, you're wondering if you should pick up that blinking unknown number on your silenced phone.

Questions remain unanswered: Why does Shefali assume that Arjun will reiterate that he likes her? How can liking a common CD lead to an engagement in the Ira Dubey-Cyrus Sahukar track? And finally, who is that Angelina Jolie lookalike?

Sonam Kapoor turns it up a notch (or four hundred) from her effort in I Hate Luv Storys but then again, her capability was apparent from her debut in Saawariya. Well, she won't get a canvas much better than this, and it's fair to say she's done a decent enough job. If only her character wasn't so misled, confused, and just plain wrong for 95% of the film. Her redemption scene is filmed in an archaic 70s style - single take slow track-in and that is her undoing.

Not sure what Abhay Deol was doing in this movie. He should stick to his space in indies. Road, Movie doesn't count. Special mention to Cyrus Sahukar who has come a long, long way. He's actually pulled off something of a performance here, playing the nerdy Jat very well. Also, debutant Amrita Puri plays small town Shefali with an enthusiasm that's reminiscent of early Priety Zinta. Even the dimples are there. Now it's up to her to pick the right roles and avoid getting typecast.

Well, Aisha is a decent effort by director Rajshree Ojha. Its heart lies in the characters and the complications in relationships created early on. But a lack of highs, conveniently crafted ends, and OTT product placement, takes away significantly from what promised to be a fun film.

But what do I know? This is a classic chick-flick. And even though I liked Clueless, I suspect it was Alicia Silverstone who did the trick. Here, Abhay Deol doesn't even get to kiss the girl. Yes, even in the end. Sad. I'll leave to the ladies to judge this one.


Upperstall review by: filmbear





 

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