Stefan Says So: Aisha
Sonam Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone burst onto the Bollywood scene just about the same time with one another in 2007, with the Kapoors (no relation here) starring in their first feature film together in Saawariya. We know how prolific Ranbir Kapoor has become with a successful 2009 and 2010 seeing him all serious in Raajneeti, while Deepika Padukone herself is fairing none too bad with a string of releases.
This is not a tabloid so I’ll stay hands off on the on-off romance between these two, but somehow Sonam Kapoor has got off the blocks rather slower than her peers, and seem to be making up for it just recently.
Thanks to dad Anil Kapoor and sister Rhea as producers, I suppose a project like this will only befit one of their own in taking on the starring role as the titular Aisha, or shall you say the Hindi version of Jane Austen’s Emma, directed by Rajshree Ojha. Sonam Kapoor steps into the role as the romantic matchmaker wannabe who, as the idle daughter of a rich man in Delhi, takes it upon herself to be a Ms Fixit, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. Not hers of course, but that of her friends and family.
I suppose if you know the story of Emma, then you’d know the story of Aisha as well, although it’s more like Clueless starring Alicia Silverstone than Austen’s literary epic for the more modern, upbeat feel to it.
Amongst Sonam Kapoor’s role, I actually disliked her portrayal of Aisha, who’s more negative than a positive one, highlighting with some cliche humour on the fairer sex’s indecisiveness when it comes to the matters of the heart, and seriously, creating more problems out of nothing than to actually address the issues at hand. The coy yet arrogant, cloy yet independent behaviour when in the midst of different parties just brings out the sheer hypocrisy of the character.
Which is not to say that Sonam Kapoor didn’t do well with the role, but I felt her earlier roles were more challenging. If anything, she shows that she’s quite the clotheshorse here with, I think, almost every scene seeing her decked out to the nines in designer togs, and carrying them off very well on her lithe frame. In some ways the film becomes an advertising feature for the various fashion houses and labels that Aisha endorses, and becomes like a huge product placement during one of the montage sequences.
Everything else that goes on in the film, sad to say, you wouldn’t care too much about, because the rest of the supporting cast are quite the caricature, offering not much depth as they either pander around or loathe Aisha’s presence as she sashays her way to manipulate the lives of others, only to see her plans backfire hard one by one onto herself.
However, every spoilt brat deserves a break, and in comes the indecisive (as well) hero Arjun (Abhay Deol) who drapes a New York based colleague Aarti (Lisa Haydon) around, to invoke the natural bitchy comparison by any pretty lass when another prettier, more popular lass is in their midst. Meow.
There seems to be quite the disconnect with the characters as they all seem to be fairly loaded without doing anything substantial, most born with a silver spoon in their mouths, and watching them wild about their idle time attending weddings, parties, and the likes, just seems too surreal to be rooted in reality.
But as a romantic comedy, this one had its eye candy cast galore to thank for to hold your attention as it plods its way (and thankfully for a Bollywood film, just slightly over 2 hours) to a finale which you know all’s well that ends well, with all the messiness of relationship entanglements straightened out in no time. Strictly for those with Emma fetish and want to compare across all versions and variations.