Aisha

Aisha
Cast: Sonam Kapoor, Ira Dubey, Amrita Puri, Abhay Deol, Cyrus Sahukar, Arunoday Singh, Lisa Haydon, M K Raina

Director: Rajshree Ojha

Rating: **

To term a film featuring a shallow lass shallow would be stating the obvious. Handsome Arjun takes his time calling Airhead Aisha just that, but we know exactly who she is the moment she swans into view: the ditsy Delhi version of the American valley girl who shops and parties her way through her charmed life.

The only way self-confessed self-obsessed creatures such as Aisha and her pals can get away with doing what they do is to guarantee that we will have fun while we watch them having their fun at glitzy mall outings and pretty polo matches. 'Aisha' makes us wait too long for the few good bits in the movie.

More Alicia Silverstone's 'Clueless' than Jane Austen's 'Emma', `Aisha' follows all the tenets of the Good Chick Flick to the hilt. There's never been such a parade of swish labels in a Bollywood film : oh look, here's a yummy Dior bag, and there's a delish Vintage Chanel dress. As Aisha, Sonam Kapoor is styled as the ultimate Barbie fantasy, top to toe designer, even when she's gardening in her gloves. Yes, she does that, in her manicured South Delhi mansion, wearing the right floppy hat. She also tries her immaculate hand, dressed by L'Oreal, at making matches. Her constant companions are good fits : best friend Pinky aka Pinks ( Dubey) is an in-your-face fashionista, and Shefali ( Puri) is the new entrant who quickly sheds her small-town `salwaar kameez' and hops into the nearest LBD to Keep Up With The Kapoors.

Chick flicks must also have good looking men who come running when summoned. Apart from Arjun ( Deol) the successful investment banker, there's Dhruv ( Singh) the hot hunk, every single rippling muscle in place, and Randhir ( Sahukar), the amiable moneyed `mithai'-shop scion. They all play their parts well enough, even though we have a hard time believing that the dimpled Deol can fall for such a twit. But then, there's no accounting for male taste, especially not in a chick flick, right? Plus, there's M K Raina as the father who loves his daughter despite her alarming credit card bills. He makes a nice change from the usual doting Bollywood papa.

This is a good looking movie, with not a hair out of place, but we wish it was a little more rumpled, a little more lived in. Then we could have felt more for the poor little rich girl and her friends as they go through their by-the-book break-ups and make-ups. Patchy writing and direction leads to the film feeling more like a string of episodes, of which only a few are lively and engaging . Puri who plays the `behenji' from Bahadurgarh has the best lines in the film, making us laugh out loud, even though she is more broadly sketched than required. Kapoor manages to look like a million bucks ( not everyone who spends that kind of money on their wardrobe can do that ), but is more flat and precious than lovable.

There's good shallow, and there's bad shallow. `Aisha' is strictly in-between shallow.

shubhra.gupta@expressindia.com

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