When two little twits still groping in the dark to understand the difference between tits and twats are handed the onerous responsibility of adapting a classic like Emma to the Bollywood milieu, the end result can only be a pathetic piece of shit that had us tottering out of the theater in sheer horror.
Folks, Jane Austen’s Emma is a classic work.
Emma, the book, is the story of our eponymous heroine who considers making matches the greatest amusement in the world and, in part, a glimpse of country life as viewed from the vantage-perch of the upper class rural gentry in early 19th century England.
Besides, of course, our inimitable Emma, the book is a embarras de richesses of rich, memorable characters including Emma’s father Henry Woodhouse, Philip Elton, Harriet Smith, Weston, George Knightley, Jane Fairfax, Miss Bates et al.
Austen endows even lesser characters like Woodhouse, Miss Bates or her mother with vivid color and odd mannerisms to make them stand out against the backdrop of the omnipresent Emma.
Aisha, au contraire, is a very badly adapted piece of shit with the limelight shining bright solely on the eponymous character Aisha, with the others relegated to the shadows due to poor characterization of their roles.
For a pithy condemnation of Aisha, we must perforce return to the source, i.e. Emma:
Vanity working on a weak head, produces every sort of mischief. Nothing so easy as for a young lady to raise her expectations too high. p.55-56, Emma (Penguin Classics, 1996)
Make that two young ladies or, if you please, two little twits and you understand why those who ought to be playing with rattles are playing for higher stakes thanks to a dear papa’s indulgence and our ticket money.
The fault, to paraphrase Cassius in Julius Caesar, is ours for we walk under the barren legs of these twits and peep about their skirts looking for the rainbow when all there’s to see is an ugly, lice-ridden thicket.
Bastardized, Bitchified Emma
Set in present-day Delhi, Aisha is the bastardized, bitchified version of Austen’s Emma.
Like Emma, the rich Aisha’s raison d’etre seems to be matchmaking.
But where Emma strikes us as a strong, interesting, intelligent woman, Aisha (Sonam Kapoor) comes across as a mere vacuous bitch with her short skirts, fancy veils at polo matches and affected mannerisms.
Neither Sonam Kapoor nor Abhay Deol impress in the least.
Truth be said, both irritated the bejesus out of us.
In every single confrontation – when Ranbhir proposes, after Dhruv is caught in flagrante delicto with Aarti, as Pinky hides her relationship with Ranbhir, after an angry Shefali storms out, with Arjun in the elevator – Sonam was the clear loser, just unable to hold her own.
Our agony owed not merely to the poor adaptation of a classic or the less than admirable performance of the lead performer Sonam Kapoor.
The music or the picturization did little to silence the cri de coeur of our despair. And what an effort it took us not to hurl missiles at the screen at the sight of this dumbified Emma and the resulting boring, pathetic shit.
To be sure, there were some redeeming elements in the movie and they go by the names of newcomer Amrita Puri and Ira Dubey (daughter of Lillete Dubey).
Puri plays Shefali, a young girl Aisha takes under her wings while Dubey is the heroine’s best friend Pinky.
To the quidnuncs among our readers, Shefali is the Harriet Smith of Emma.
Both Puri and Dubey are a delight to watch in contrast to Sonam Kapoor, who trips over, over and over (in every single key confrontation, as we pointed out earlier). The adorable Amrita Puri, in particular, stole Sonam’s thunder completely.
Besides the issue of the bad adaptation, there’s also the issue of the Aisha story’s fit to the Indian mileu.
Transporting an early 19th century story set in rural England to 21st century urban India, where the key characters are mostly stinking rich, play/watch polo matches, drive around in Mercedes, Volkswagens and Toyotas, eat in five-star hotels, shop at high-end stores in fancy malls, London/New York returned, go river rafting and party at expensive night-clubs and Chaddha uncle’s farm-house seems to us to be a total disconnect from the surroundings/lives of most people.
Come on, how many of you schmucks know someone who f*cking plays polo!
Poor Jane Austen. She’d be turning in her grave if she knew what mud two little Bollywood twits had dragged her fine book into.
Raise Your Middle Finger
Guys, to even think of wasting your time or money on trash like Aisha would only open yourself to ridicule such as you’ve never encountered before.
Show these twits and their dotard doting papa the middle finger and you’ll be the wiser for it.
We for one would be delighted should this freakshow of a movie kiss the dust as it likely will.
N.B: There were a mere four people for the afternoon show at a Regal theater on the East Coast. And if you ask us, that was four too many.