Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Aisha: Desi chick flick
As the end credits rolled in “Aisha”, I noticed that the credits for stylists/designers and clothes sponsors never seemed to end. That should tell you something.
This is a film that is a lot like the characters in it – very very pretty, but, as a character in the film says “very shallow”.
This is India’s first chick flick though, and even though there are holes in the script, plot points are very badly explained and Sonam Kapoor’s acting hampers the film significantly, it does tell you the story of India’s luxe set, for whom a Chanel bag is an important accessory even when you are roughing it out on the banks of the Ganges in a tent. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Sonam Kapoor plays Aisha, a ditsy, but well-meaning girl who wants to play match-maker to everyone around her. She comes across the perfect “project” in Shefali, an enthusiastic, but unsophisticated girl from a small town near Delhi, whom Aisha promises to take under her wing, and find her a “good boy.”
She is aided in this endeavour by her smart-talking best friend Pinky, (Ira Dubey), while family friend Arjun (Abhay Deol) firmly believes that she should stay away from what is none of her business. Aisha of course, goes about her project with the attitude of a horse with blinkers, listening to no one and ignoring the obvious signs around her, until everything falls apart.
Set in the upper-class Delhi milieu, Aisha does have a lot of fun moments and captures the essence of that milieu really well. Needless to say, the clothes, the bags, the set design (who has kitchens with all white cabinets and perfectly placed jars of pasta on shelves?) are all top-notch.
Of the cast, Abhay Deol does what he is expected to do – look good and act well. Ira Dubey as the caustic Pinky is great, but the real star is Amrita Puri, who plays the wide-eyed small town girl thrown into high society with élan. The film’s main star, Sonam Kapoor, disappoints coming off as awkward at some of the most crucial moments.
The story is a straight lift-off from the Alicia Silverstone starrer “Clueless”, which in turn was an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, so you can’t help thinking that if only the script were tighter and plot points weren’t so abrupt, this could have been a better effort.
However, you might be willing to forgive the emptiness inside, because this film is oh-so-pretty on the outside.