I was keen on watching this ‘desi’ adaptation of Austen’s Emma. I love Austen and though Pride & Prejudice is my favorite, followed by Sense & Sensibility, I am very fond of Mr. Knightley! I thought Jeremy Northam, made an excellent Knightley in the Gwyneth Paltrow starrer and she made an excellent Emma.
I enjoyed the movie 🙂 It’s what we refer to in local lingo as ‘TP” or ‘Time-Pass’, which means, it’s an average watch and in the absence of great expectations, a reasonably good time may be had 😉 Took my Mom along for this one, ‘coz I knew it was the sort of movie she would enjoy – a family drama without violence 🙂
And so we have Sonam Kapoor, fresh from her recent hit, I Hate Luv Stories (haven’t seen it), as Aisha Kapoor, in a desi ‘Emma’ avatar, a rich, young, self-involved Delhi-socialite with an exaggerated sense of her own importance! She is so used to getting her own way, especially within her loving circle of family and friends, that it makes her completely oblivious to and unrecognizing of the fact that differences in opinion can exist even is such a tiny circle. The movie begins at her aunt’s wedding, which she has arranged, having successfully played matchmaker. With this one happy couple under her belt, she harbors ambitions of becoming the next ‘love guru’ in town and begins her experimentation on the young, hapless, gauche ‘small-town’ visitor from Bahadurgarh, Shefali (Harriet’s desi avatar), with absolute confidence in her own ability! What follows, (as in the original), are a series of unfortunate heart-breaks for our poor desi Harriet; who though, now looking like a dishy diva in her Dior dresses and Ferragamo shoes, is still a complete misfit in the glamorous, superficial world that is Delhi high society; and a series of disappointments and revelations for Aisha, who must finally face up to the fact that love cannot always be ‘arranged’ and that she’s not always right! Luckily for both, all is not lost – enter Abhay Deol, our very own dapper, chivalrous Mr. Knightley…sigh🙂
Really, for me he’s the bright spot in the movie, the one reason that makes it special! He makes an excellent Knightley – his common sense and solidity providing the perfect foil to Aisha’s flightiness, her misplaced good intentions, and her kind-hearted but self-absorbed character. He’s a fine actor, this young gentleman, and intelligent, as proved by his choice of films, which have so far been very different from the routine, run-of-the-mill Bollywood song and dance capers. But as I was explaining to a cousin, I hadn’t paid any attention to his looks, ‘coz I was too busy focusing on his acting skills which are considerable. Here however, I couldn’t help but be floored by the deep dimple (am a sucker for dimples ;-)) and the lean frame so well-suited to showing off all those Armani threads he’s wearing! Also, the guy can dance, people! Am happy therefore, to report and welcome, this new addition to crazy Goan girl’s list of drool-worthy dudes 🙂
Although most of the original characters are retained, albeit in altered avatars, (Emma’s friend-companion Mrs. Weston is now her aunt), to suit the Indian milieu, their setting is quite the opposite to that of Austen’s original. So instead of the quietly rolling English countryside, we have glitzy high-fashion malls and high-society farmhouse parties complete with fire-blowing bar-men! Instead of parlors and horse-carriages and quiet dinners, we have fancy restaurants, flashy cars and white-water rafting! The scene I most enjoyed most was the Leopard camp, where the young people are gathered to try their hand at adventure sports and where Aisha attempts to get Randhir to finally propose to Shefali with disastrous consequences for all concerned! Loved those tents they stayed in and I hope it’s not a fictional camp, ‘coz it’s on my list of places to visit 🙂
Of course, all’s well that ends well, in true Austen fashion and for that I’m thankful! One of the reasons I enjoyed this movie, is coz I had a field day trying to pick out the original characters from amongst the cast. Not very difficult to do if you know your Austen! Abhay Deol is the other. If you like him, it’s a must see. Even if you don’t – go anyway – be prepared to be converted – like me 🙂
P.S. In case anyone was wondering, yes I shared half a cucumber with my cucumber-loving cousin during Intermission 🙂 It’s becoming a ritual of sorts that I look forward to and am growing quite fond of! I’m beginning to wonder whether I should rate movies by the number of cucumbers eaten 😉 And yes, Mom liked the movie. She even thought Sonam Kapoor had a face like Rekha’s??!!! High praise indeed!