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Bollywood is adapting Emma in this city.
[Text by Mayank Austen Soofi; picture of Sonam Kapoor by Jatin Kampani]
It’s confirmed. Jane Austen is coming to Delhi. Film actor Sonam Kapoor is starring in the Bollywood adaptation of Emma, an Austen comedy about a too-clever brat whose penchant for matchmaking other people almost ruined chances of her own match.
The movie is set in Delhi with Emma being Indianised as Aisha. “She’ll be Aisha Kapoor, not Emma Woodhouse,” said Ms Kapoor in a telephone chat with The Delhi Walla. She was getting her hair done in a Bombay salon. “I’m a big Jane Austen fan and have read all her novels,” Ms Kapoor swooned. “They all are so girly and tie up so perfectly in the climax.”
Being co-produced by her film star father Anil Kapoor and directed by Rajshree Ojha, the film’s shooting will start later in August, 2009. The actors, including Abhay Deol who is to play Emma’s beau Mr Knightley, will be all over the town for 45 days. “I’ll play a typical south Delhi girl with a Modern School background,” disclosed Ms Kapoor. “You may see me jogging in Lodhi Garden or shopping in Select Citywalk.”
In the novel, Emma lived with an eccentric dad in an England village where they were the richest family. “It‘ll be same in Aisha though my real father won’t play my father,” revealed Ms Kapoor. “And we’ll be a rich family with a bungalow in Aurangzeb Road.” Once home to Pakistan founder MA Jinnah, Aurangzeb Road is one of Delhi’s priciest residential margs.
But why set this gossipy 19th century drawing room drama in a snooty Punjabified Delhi? “Because south Delhi’s high society is just like that of Jane Austen’s England,” replied Ms Kapoor, a Bombayite who is familiar with the Capital’s social codes since her bua lives in Sainik Farms. “After all, Delhi girls are forever obsessed with getting the right man, right family and right wedding clothes for their marriage,” she added.
To portray the hip South Delhi version of a literary character, said to be Jane Austen's personal favourite and once played by Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow, won’t be easy. Ms Kapoor would also have to get rid of the touch-me-not Walled City reputation she acquired in her February, 2009 release Delhi 6 – a Bollywood musical on Old Delhi. “In real life I’m not an Old Delhi kind of person,” the actor said before explaining, “Inwardly, I may be like Bittu Sharma (her character in Delhi 6) but outwardly I’m more like Aisha Kapoor.” Jane would know best.