Monday, November 29, 1999

Bollywood`s Chick Flick experiments

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Even though Aisha's first promo was posted only two days ago, it has already witnessed a fair amount of interest (it recorded nearly one lakh hits within 24 hours) and has placed the film on to urban women's most-awaited-films list.Aisha may be the latest addition to the list but many women are also waiting for I Hate Luv Storys, another Sonam Kapoor-starrer. The story of a girl smitten by the idea of love and a boy who doesn't believe in the emotion, it is already being hailed as a Mills & Boons-ish romance. Later this year, filmmaker Karan Johar, known for his candyfloss and bubblegum romances, will make his contribution to the list with his remake of the Hollywood film Stepmom.Though Sex and the City's recently-released sequel failed to work its charm on Indian audience, looking at some of the forthcoming releases this, it seems Bollywood is keen on experimenting with the genre. Rajshree Ojha, the director of Aisha which is an adaptation of Jane Austen's acclaimed novel Emma, feels the urban demographics indicate that the audience is ready for chick flicks."Indian cinema had not tried it out until now probably because the genre is all about urban women with minds of their own. But as more and more women turn financially independent and begin to make their own decisions, films that indulge them or sometimes reflect their lives (on a lighter note) are going to be made," says the debutant director.Though Punit Malhotra, the director of I Hate Luv Storys, doesn't call his film a chick flick, he does accede that he expects women to comprise a chunk of the audience. "Love is a universal emotion but the idea of the emotion, but what romance means to Sonam's character is something that women will be able to connect with," he adds. The film, scheduled to release on July 2, has all the trappings of a fun film, asserts 28-year-old Ruchi Doshi, a banker, "Fashion, friends, wit, some heartbreak and tiffs-all the things that make a chick flick."In Ojha's opinion, there is no formula to create a chick flick but she agrees with Doshi that it has to be aspirational. "Chick flicks usually offer a slice of women's lives, with some aspirations thrown in. So while the wit and humour may flow when we gang up with the girls as it does in a Sex and the City, we all aspire to some day sport those Guccis and Pradas. It is fun to let go every now and then and feel like a diva through the character on screen," says the director, who is waiting Aisha's release on August 6.The growing popularity of chick flicks can be gauged from the fact that Bollywood is now looking at chick lit for stories. Anuja Chauhan's The Zoya Factor is to be adapted into a film by Shah Rukh Khan's production company Red Chillies. Though Advaita Kala, the author of Almost Single, has not yet given her nod to offers for adapting her novel on the big screen, she has penned the script of Priyanka Chopra-Ranbir Kapoor starrer Anjaana Anjaani. She, however, feels that it isn't a genre everyone can handle. "These are stories which deal with women's experiences. Women characters in chick lit or chick flicks, like all humans, may have what we traditionally refer to as vices, like a woman could be a smoker or flirt. It is important that these 'vices' be treated in the right light. A book allows one to spend pages after pages establishing the character's background but a film may not offer that liberty," she explains.That's the reason why she hasn't agreed to the proposals of adapting her book. "Like marriage, you have to find the right partner (to adapt a book into a screenplay). If you don't, it's better to wait it out."

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