Sunday, March 6, 2011

Character Profile: Aisha; Wake Up Sid

I'm one of those people who can become heavily invested in characters (see: Bollywood Characters I'd Marry), and therefore the characters are what will make the film for me. I'd even be willing to put a film's plot on the backseat--not hard, considering too many of our films are basically the same plot rehashed--if I can feel a real connection with the characters. And there really have been some memorable characters that stay with me well past the film's ending credits--therefore, one of the new fixtures on my blog is a profile of some of my favourite Bollywood characters. To kick things off, I'm profiling Aisha, Konkona Sen Sharma's character in Wake Up, Sid.

Aisha is probably not the most typical choice out there, but I absolutely adore her for how understated she is. Oftentimes, a character needs to be over-the-top in order to be memorable, but Aisha's manages to shine through her subtlety, perhaps because she is a realistic and well fleshed-out character--she has her strengths and she has her flaws, and somewhere there is an Aisha hidden in all of us. Aisha is actually the one character who reminds me most of me, and therefore I thought it'd be fitting to start with her.

When we first see Aisha, she is hunched over her journal, possibly recording her thoughts on her first day as an official Bombayite. The journalist in her cannot resist making notes, even if it is at the risk of being anti-social; she very happily ignores the party around her in favor of writing.

However, don't be hasty to judge Aisha as a meek and timid person. She quickly opens up to Sid (played by Ranbir Kapoor) and asks him to show her around Bombay, but immediately specifies what her intentions are (or are not, as the case may be).

From there on, we learn a few facts about Aisha: she lived all her life in Calcutta, she wants to be a writer, and she came to Mumbai simply because she craves independence.

In an industry fraught with "damsel in distress" plotlines, it's refreshing to see a character who is strong, independent, and does not need any form of 'saving'. In fact, she ends up being the one doing the saving--when Sid gets kicked out of his house, it's Aisha he turns to for help, Aisha who takes him in and helps him get his life back on track.

Meanwhile, Aisha's busy getting her own life on track. She has explored Bombay and no longer feels like a stranger in the city...

...she's turning her dump of an apartment into her home...

...and she has interviewed for a job where she meets her, um, rather good-looking boss.

Oops! But who can blame her, really?

How YOU doin'?

The film then continues to explore Aisha and Sid as individual characters and as friends. To say more about the film would be to give plot details away, so I won't. Instead, I'll continue to examine facets of Aisha's personality, through screenshots taken from the film.

Aisha's Style

I love how the costume designers (Manish Malhotra, Priyanjali Lahiri) have managed to give Aisha's character that "modern Indian woman" look--they do not stick her in salwar kurtas, nor do they insist on dressing her solely in skirts or dresses. Instead, Aisha's look blends traditional with modern, and you'll usually find her in a kurta and jeans. It's very typical of what the ordinary Indian woman would wear out and about, thus increasing Aisha's relatability.

I love her payal!

Absolutely adore this camel-print kurta... WANT!

I really like this outfit. It's like an Indianized version of the LBD. Plus, the SHOES!

It's not only Aisha's choice of clothing that reflects her style, but also how she chooses to decorate her apartment. Let me just say that I absolutely love what the set designers have done with her room. It's simple and classy and very reflective of Aisha's character.

Love her use of the bird cut-outs.

Very pretty bird cage to go with the bird cut-outs.

I love hanging up pictures of the people I love too, so I adored this concept!

Aisha's Inspirtation

Again, I love how well-fleshed out her character is. The director does a wonderful job of throwing in little snippets of Aisha's favourite things in the movie. It's done subtly and mostly integrated into song sequences, but it really opens up a window to Aisha's personality.


Aisha receives a shipment of her things from home.

She collects post cards.

More books!

I love smelling books, so I totally relate to this scene.

Even more books! And you wonder why I love Aisha so much...

I've said it before, but the great thing about Aisha is how easy it is to relate to her. She has her flaws--I wanted to shake her when she kept calling Sid immature; I can't imagine how annoying that must have been, especially after he did a lot of growing up--but she's also extremely endearing and unostentatious.

That's that for my first character profile! I'll be back soon with another. In the meantime, do let me know who your favourite characters are, and whether you feel the same way about Aisha as I do!

By the way, as a side-note: If you're a LiveJournal user, you can follow my posts on your LJ Friends Page by adding this feed. :)


  1. I loveeeeeeeeeeeeed her character!
    I cried like a baby in this movie every scene where Sid's mom spoke...I felt so horrible. I loved this movie and I agree with u thoroughly on all the points u made with her character! She was very subtle and shone throughout the entire film..I love how it wasn't a typical love story..

    There are two characters I love and I would like to see them everyday--John and Abhishek from Dostana. I don't think anyone in the universe can play those roles better than them. I totally believed their story and I enjoyed the maturity yet childishness of their characters...oh and and and, and this is kinda an old movie but I loved Sanjay Dutt in Pita and Also his wife (whose name I cant remember) they really told a true tale for me.


  2. I love Aisha! I have a mental list of my favourite Bollywood characters and she's up there!

    I must admit one of the main things for me too was all her books! :D

    Great character profile!

  3. Steffane - I'm really glad you liked the movie! It's one of my favourites. Hahaha John and Abhishek, yes! Their characters will make it on my list, I'm sure. :)

    Shuheda - Thank you! And yup, the books definitely made me stop and be like, "Are you me?" :)

  4. Yeah I tend to gravitate towards characters as well because let's face it, not every Bollywood movie has the most mind blowing plot. The actors and chemistry are usually what draw viewers in.

    I agree that the thing that makes Aisha engaging for me is how well developed her character is - like you say she has her strengths, she has her faults.

    That is a VERY good point about first seeing her hunched over a journal and yet that this doesn't mean she is entirely anti-social. I never quite thought about it this way. Again I also never clicked that in fact this is one of the very few movies without a damsel-in-distress sort of thing.

    I LOVE Aisha's choice of clothes and how she decorates her house. But we've already established that from my ridiculous WUS picspams eh XD Also? I love that she prefers filmi music!

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  6. Parul - Your WUS picspams are my faaaaavourite. And yeah, I love that she prefers filmi music as well. At least she's not pretentious and has no shame in admitting that she likes Hindi film songs because they're easy to sing along to. :)

  7. Love the movie, love Aisha and totally love the camel print kurta! Soo want.

  8. love Aisha a lot.also liked her because she reads book.As a Nigerian, people take a hard to believe i watch indian movies but i do because the characters are of my favourites is Aisha.

  9. have you managed to find the camel kurti? if so please share bc i want want want it too!!

  10. the camel kurti!! kept searching for it n it brought me here.. any luck with that? pleaseeee let me know!!

  11. where can you find the journal she uses in this film?

  12. Hi, Really great effort. Everyone must read this article. Thanks for sharing.