Monday, July 25, 2011

adaptation: Bride & Prejudice

Last week a coworker and fellow Austen fan she made a reference to how Mr. Bennet handles Mary's performance at the ball (in Pride and Prejudice) in conversation. Maya's wonderfully horrific cobra dance in Gurinder Chadha's Bollywood-style adaption, Bride & Prejudice, leapt to mind so I mentioned it. When my coworker admitted to not having seen the film, I insisted that she borrow my copy. This weekend I decided that I need to watch Bride & Prejudice once more before it left the house.

I have a soft spot for Bollywood films (and I loved Chadha's Bend it Like Beckham) so Bride & Prejudice was never a hard sell to me. Bride & Prejudice isn't perfect (above all - there are only 4 Bakshi girls, Kitty didn't make the cut), but I think it's true to the spirit of the original. The contemporary Indian setting works really well for the story because inherent in it is a more rigid social hierarchy and behavioral expectations reminiscent of Austen's time. Mrs. Bakshi works perfectly as a by-the-book Mrs. Bennet and she's believable within the setting.

Martin Henderson doesn't do much for me as Darcy (Balraj/Bingley is much more my type) and Aishwarya Rai is a bit too gorgeous for Lizzie, but otherwise I think the casting is quite good. The musical interludes are pretty well integrated (which is not always the case with Bollywood movies), though I could have done without Ashanti's guest appearance. The cobra dance bit mentioned above is my favorite scene from the whole film. Also Lakhi/Lydia (Peeya Rai Chowdhary) is an absolute crack up.

Two thumbs up! But, skip it if musicals (or modern interpretations of Austen) drive you to distraction.

I suspect my coworker is more of a purist than I am so I may post a follow-up when I've heard her comments on the film.


  1. I was really excited about this film but ended up being disappointed. It wasn't as clever and fun as I thought it would be, I suppose. Maybe I'm too much of a purist though ;-)
    But then I love Bridget Jones' Diary!

  2. My mom and I watched this movie together a few summers ago and totally loved it. It's great in that fun cheesy kind of way, and the music is either great or hilarious, in the case of the cobra dance. I don't know if I would actively recommend it to people, but it's definitely a guilty pleasure.

  3. Belle - I actually liked the Bridget Jones's Diary film better than the books :-o

  4. I watched this movie a few years ago, when a TV channel had it on. Coming from a country where Bollywood movies are widely shown and marketed, I have to say that Bride and Prejudice is one of the most interesting Bollywood movies I've watched. =)

  5. I've been wanting to read this! Thanks for the reminder of it.

  6. And by read I mean watch... books are so much better than movies... haha.