Culture, Gender and Movies

New Girl in the City – Aisha Banerjee from Wake Up Sid

aisha banerjee
‘The New Girl in the City’ is how Aisha Banerjee (played by Konkana SenSharma) from Wake Up Sid(directed by Ayan Mukherjee) summarizes her experience of being in a totally new city for the first time, all by herself. The new city does not have to be Mumbai all the time like in Aisha’s case. It can be moving into a hostel for college, or relocating to another state or country for better job opportunities or anything similar but, the excitement the experience offers is as liberating as it is scary.
 
We find ourselves confused and lonely because we have left behind the only world we ever knew. And now in the hustle of the city, we find ourselves surrounded by people who speak, eat, and dress differently. Aisha who has come all the way from Kolkata to make it big in Mumbai as a writer goes through the same emotions. But in the chaos, she finds freedom and a sense of self, a will to explore more, and above all she finds independence, the one thing that she came for.
 
It can be totally uncomfortable in the beginning to adjust with new routines and culture but as they say it, life begins at the end of your comfort zone. We may make mistakes and everything may not work out as we planned but that’s how it works, that’s how being in a new place prepares us to face the harsh realities of life. We learn to take charge of our lives, we make some wonderful friends who may be there with us for the rest of our life, like Aisha had Sid, and above all, we gather some amazing experiences that we will cherish for a lifetime.
 
There is no better character in Indian cinema who reflects the excitement, the loneliness, and the liberation one finds after relocating to a new city in search of a better life. For some reason, I feel that Wake up Sid is more of Aisha’s story than Sid’s and while Aisha continues to be one of the best-depicted characters on the silver screen.
 
Well, I don’t intend to be gender-biased, but things are pretty convenient for men than it is for women, no matter which part of the world you are. There is a reason why a good fraction of Indian parents are extremely speculative and concerned about letting their daughters find a new shelter all by themselves.
 
The article Aisha writes in the end, “The New Girl in the City” is what every girl who has gathered the courage to move out in search of dreams and better lives would prefer to say.
Saoirse Ronan’s period drama film Brooklyn transcends similar thoughts. Set in the 1950s, the movie revolves around the life of an Irish girl Eilis, who has to migrate to Brooklyn, New York to pull her family out of poverty.
 
She finds herself lost in the noise of the majestic city and suffers from extreme homesickness. But as the movie goes on, we find Eilis becoming a product of Brooklyn. The city does its magic transforming her into a bold and confident young woman.
 
Though at a certain stage her hometown in Ireland did entice her to come back but the spell cast by the new city is irreversible and Eilis returns to Brooklyn, which is now her home.
 
The liberation, the independence, the sense of self the new city gifts us is what shapes our identities and in the end rather than we owning the city, the city owns us like a newly born child.

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