“New Girl In The City. By Aisha Banerjee” was like untimely sunshine on a monsoon afternoon. When Aisha Banerjee came into my life, I was too young to know about ambitions and understand dreams. But as I grew up, trapped in a flurry of emotions, I knew I had to find a direction. Like Aisha, I made myself believe that one needs to have their own life that is gestated in the womb of ambition.
Sid sulks through the boring farewell party and his camera finds faces that were ready to step into the big world; maybe waiting to conquer it or maybe not. While Aisha’s pen glides through the pages of her diary, Sid’s camera catches a glimpse of her first wavering scribbles. From then on she never stopped. Her hunger for a career and an independent life led her to walk down unknown roads, but her eyes stuck on an empty lane that leads back to her cosy little apartment. She grows with the world around her but she doesn’t want the world around to grow. She smells old books and hangs up old polaroids of her parents as she wants to race back to her cosy seat of nostalgia.
It is funny how she turned inside out as she discarded jazz and picked on old Hindi songs. She explored the new city with a bespectacled mind, as if words were just about fitting into the essay on Mumbai. Her eyes searched for a spot to rest her nest, to hold the remnants of her childish self. She longed to become independent with a sense of succession from the older self as she wanted to discard it in its raw form. The dreams gathered near her window pane.
She freaked out at the changed face of chaos that was in Sid and named it as an excuse to be at an arm’s distance from dependency, but I know that she was unprepared to lose the kiddish nonchalance in her new friend. We cannot afford to forget that this new friend was mostly the entire environment around her in this new city.
Aisha rooted me to a character that I always wanted to leave behind. When she sheepishly sang ‘Pehla Nasha’ in a full room, I knew I could be who I was. I understood ambitions and how they cannot be a reason to take away yourself from your being. It is more important to follow what makes your being more enthralling for yourself. When she stands alone on a promontory waiting for her love, in the first morning of monsoon, she was waiting to go back to that lazy midnight walk to Marine Drive and reminisce the feeling of being a “New Girl In The City”: with the same fears, excitements and dreams.
I learnt that Aisha Banerjee was a process. She was a path towards a new independence that looks backs to find the residue of innocence, without guilt or regrets. She reminds me how to hold back to the little joys like “Tum, main aur do cup chai” while being driven by a strong ambition. I hereby declare that I have never connected or related myself with any mainstream character like I have with Aisha Banerjee.
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.