Wednesday, February 9, 2011

#55: Aisha

Aisha is a 2010 rom-com about Aisha (Sonam Kapoor), her elite lifestyle, her tryst of romance with her childhood friend and the relationship she shares with her loved ones.

Set in Delhi, the movie captures a phase in Aisha's life who is in her early 20s. A simple match-making exercise that she undertakes to hook up a distant relative's daughter Shefali (Amrita Puri) with Randhir (Cyrus Sahukar) lands her into an emotional turmoil. During the course of this exercise she ends upsetting the very few people who were close to her. Her best friend Pinky, played by the spunky Ira Dubey falls out with her even as Aisha's childhood friend Arjun (Abhay Deol) tries to explain to her the mistakes she is making. While she goes through these changes in her relationship with her close friends calmly in the beginning, it soon dawns on her that she has to change something about herself to bring back the magic of the good old times. Aisha is the story of that transformation in her character.

One has to commend Aisha for that specific chick-flick look and style it adopts uniformly throughout the movie. Whether it's Sonam's head-turning-rich-brat-symbol of the Yellow VW Beetle that she drives or the designer shops that the characters visit, it doesn't take more than a couple of frames for the viewers to realize that this is a story set in the creamy echelons of South Delhi. Ira Dubey and Sonam Kapoor could give many a girl a sleepless night with those perfect waistlines, impeccable dresses and fancy paraphernalia of ladies bags and the like. Midway, through the movie, I hoped this was a movie made by a lady, for anything towards the contrary would've given me a sleepless night.

Apart from the packaging, director Rajshri Ojha manages to extract worthy performances from Abhay Deol and Ira Dubey in this story that's loosely based on a Jane Austen novel. While the Abhay Deol is in a league by himself, he is undermined because of a lack of depth in his character. Ira Dubey pleasantly surprises us with her sparkling screen presence. Her mother's natural grace that's reflected in her manners is not to be missed. Sonam Kapoor and Arunoday Singh, who plays Dhruv, Aisha's brief love interest, are wooden and have a long way to go before we could even begin to write anything about their acting skills. Between the two, while Sonam is the perfect example as to why star kids continue to be the butt of jokes in the industry, Arunoday is a bit of a shame considering he can't act even though he's got a politician's genes in his blood. Amrita Puri and Cyrus Sahukar, however, are likable as performers with both displaying adequate ease in slipping in their respective characters. Amit Trivedi's music is refreshingly apt for the milieu and Javed Akhtar's words are the proverbial cherry on the cake. The absolutely soothing Shaam bhi koi, jaisi hai nadi... was probably the year's best song in Bollywood.

After the first half, the story meanders a bit too much that and by the time the climax arrives, you're left wondering if the movie could've been 15 minutes shorter. While all the story threads are fairly addressed, the evident lack of chemistry between Abhay Deol and Sonam Kapoor fails to capture your imagination towards the end. In the final scene, there are traces of a copybook imitation scene from Pretty Woman that will surely disappoint you. Aisha succeeds in laying claim as Bollywood's first indigenous chick-flick and to that end it is a respectable effort by Rajshri Ojha. It could've set the benchmark for movies in this genre with a far better performance from the lead actress and a more lucid storytelling approach. What it lacks in substance, it tries to make up in style and we all know that's never enough in the craft of filmmaking.

Rating: 6.1/10