Cast: Sonam Kapoor, Abhay Deol, Cyrus Sahukar, Amrita Puri, Ira Dubey
Director: Rajshri Ojha
Superficial and shallow like its protagonist, Aisha is a tiring film about a meddlesome, match-making millionaire, whose roots can be traced directly to charming 90s comedy Clueless, itself a contemporary take on Jane Austen's Emma.
Sonam Kapoor stars as South Delhi-bred spoilt brat Aisha, who looks like she's stepped straight out of the pages of Vogue. With her best friend, the equally vacuous Pinky (played by Ira Dubey), she spends her days maxing out her father's credit card at fancy designer boutiques, and attending polo matches with the Capital's swish set.
When her matchmaking designs on her new 'behenji' friend Shefali and the bumbling mithai-shop heir Randhir go awry, Aisha is forced to rethink her idea of love, and whether it can be arranged after all.
Abhay Deol as Arjun, her sister's annoying brother-in-law often tries to stop Aisha from interfering in other people's lives. But to complicate things further, a hunky childhood friend, and Arjun's smokin' hot colleague jump into the fray. Soon Aisha has to swallow the fact that she can't control love, especially when it finally hits her.
A mish-mash of Clueless and the risqué American TV show Gossip Girl, this film unfortunately lacks the wit of the former and the edginess of the latter. Yet during the first half of Aisha, this combination is refreshing. The film is good-looking, it smacks of a certain bubble set in Delhi, and the dialogue (peppered as it is with countless 'whatevers') has still got bounce. It's not hard to warm up to the characters initially, to even have a little fun at the endless row of parties that seem to make up Aisha's social whirl. But there is such a thing as too much partying, and Aisha's gang never seems to grow up to any real-life emotions.
As the film drags on in its pretty stilettoed feet, you get restless in your seat. After all, these characters aren't layered, this romance isn't original, and after intermission especially, the script moves clumsily all over the place. What's worse, while Amit Trivedi's music has its moments, the movie is littered with too many songs.
One of the key reasons Aisha doesn't work is its central protagonist -- the character is written lazily. She may be spoilt, but her actions are often inexplicable. Is she making a career as a wedding planner or a charcoal artist? Why does she have no interest in boys herself?
Doesn't help that Sonam Kapoor offers a cardboard cutout personality to the lead. She plays the airhead convincingly and pulls off the flighty princess part, but flounders when it comes to drumming up tears, anger or hurt. Abhay Deol is more sure-footed. He injects a natural charm to the instantly likeable Arjun, but their climax, Pretty Woman-inspired, is a copout.
Of the remaining cast, Ira Dubey makes an impression as Aisha's fickle best friend; and Cyrus Sahukar displays spot-on comic timing as the foolish-but-earnest Randhir Gambhir. But it's Amrita Puri in the role of the small-town simpleton Shefali, who steals the film with the best lines and a performance that is more real, more honest than the rest of this superficial film.
I'm going with two out of five for director Rajshri Ojha's Aisha. It's like a pretty flute of champagne, but it loses its fizz far too quickly. Watch it at best for the same reason you watch the Sex & the City movies. To ogle shamelessly at the orgy of designer brands.
Rating: 2 / 5
Dhruve Gandhi, Jamnagar
Raghav Ramaiah, Bangalore
Antariksh Jain, Pune