As the Abhay Deol-Big Mouth a.k.a Sonam Kapoor film Aisha is nigh upon us, we picked up Jane Austen’s Emma at our local library yesterday.
Unless you are a complete Bollywoodphobe, you do know that Aisha is an adaptation of Emma, set of course in these current wretched times in India.
Emma is one of only four books by Austen that were published in her lifetime (the others were Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park).
We’ve read a little over a fourth of the 396-page book and find it fairly engaging charming.
As some of you might be aware, Emma is a glimpse of country life as viewed from the vantage-point of the upper class rural gentry in early 19th century England. Needless to say, that is as distorted as the view Isha Ambani gets when she looks out of her family’s gazillion dollar Mumbai home.
In a Bollywood stuffed to the gills with incompetent actresses, it’s hard to think of anyone save Sonam Kapoor or Vidya Balan to essay the role of Emma with some degree of elan, even if it’s a desi version.
We’re wont to think this short passage is a succinct summary of Aisha:
Her father fondly replied, “Ah! my dear, I wish you would not make matches and foretel things, for whatever you say always comes to pass. Pray do not make any more matches.”
“I promise you to make none for myself, papa: but I must, indeed, for other people. It is the greatest amusement in the world! And after such success you know! [p.12]
While we still have many more pages ahead of us, we must acknowledge the vein of sly, impish humor that courses through the portions we’ve finished.
For our readers belonging to the distaff sex, here are a few pearls of wisdom, courtesy Emma of course:
I lay it as a general rule, Harriet, that if a woman doubts as to whether she should accept a man or not, she certainly ought to refuse him. If she can hesitate as to ‘Yes,’ she ought to say ‘No’ directly. It is not a state to be safely entered into with doubtful feelings, with half a heart. [p.46]
A woman is not to marry a man merely because she is asked, or because he is attached to her, and can write a tolerable letter. [p.47]
Oh! to be sure…it is always incomprehensible to a man that a woman should ever refuse an offer of marriage. A man always imagines a woman to be ready for anybody who asks her. [p.52-53]
Whether we like Aisha or not, it’s fair to say that we find Emma an extremely interesting character.
We hope to complete the book in the coming days and will do an update to this post at the time.
By the way, our Mensaic mind has already guessed the ending although we have a lot of field still left to plow.
Is Emma the most delicious character that Austen wrought up in her rich imagination?
Aisha Review – Lost in Translation Piece of Shit