Fun Film Pleases Austen Fans
Do you love the book Pride and Prejudice? Have you seen all the Pride and Prejudice movies filmed over the years? Several movie versions exits for this popular book.
If so, does your viewing list of Pride and Prejudice movies include the exuberant 2004 Bride and Prejudice film written and directed by Gurinder Chadha? If not, get ready for a movie unlike most others, especially if you have never seen a Bollywood feature film.
"Laughter, Color, Light and Sound"
Bride and Prejudice is a wonderful, imaginative and vibrantly colored retelling of the beloved Jane Austen classic Bollywood style. It has eye-popping color, great music and lots of dancing. In fact, "laughter, color, light and sound" is part of the song lyrics to one of the movie's introductory musical numbers.
Bollywood movies are typically known for their song and dance sequences. Prepare to be surprised and delighted, if not taken aback a little, by our leads and supporting actors as they often and unexpectedly break out into song. In Bride and Prejudice, a black gospel choir and a Mariachi band also serenade our leads in this fun musical film.
This movie also features gorgeous costumes, scenic sights of India and other major cities and naturally features leading Bollywood actresses. One is a former a Miss World titleholder and another actress in the film is a former Miss India winner. The men cast in the film are likewise talented and handsome.
Film Respects its Literary Predecessor
Despite the film's setting in India and its musical nature, the movie remains true to Pride and Prejudice and pays tribute to Jane Austen's most treasured book.
This is not the case at all.
All the elements and characters of Jane Austen’s literary masterpiece are thoughtfully represented in the film and the integrity of Austen’s literary work is left intact.
Simply put, movie director Gurinder Chadha transports our heroes and heroines to Amritsar, India to tell her clever re-envisioning of Austen's cherished tale. Chadha and her fellow filmmaking colleagues retell Austen's story tremendously well.
As Chadha herself is of mixed British and Indian heritage, she weaves her own unique perspective and appreciation of both cultures into Bride and Prejudice. For those unfamiliar with Gurinder Chadha's film resume, she also wrote and directed the hugely popular movie, Bend it Like Beckham.
Contemporary Characters, a Multi-Cultural Cast and International Cities
Naturally, there are many cultural differences between the book and the film and many funny popular culture references have been introduced into this amusing movie. This includes a terrific song and dance number performed by the four Bakshi sisters. Their performance and the song called "No Life Without Wife" is very reminiscent of a scene from the movie Grease.
Bride and Prejudice is an unexpected pleasure for many reasons. The movie gets better scene-after-scene and improves after multiple viewings. If you watch this feature film only once, however, it is still possible to see just how cleverly Bride and Prejudice has been written and executed.
Audiences of this movie are generally struck by just how well the Pride and Prejudice story fits into India and by how deftly the filmmakers have crafted their film to infuse Indian life and culture into the Pride and Prejudice story by way of their creative retelling of this movie.
Few movie adaptations of books turn out well, and succeed as charmingly as this one does. Still even fewer film adaptations please viewers of beloved books. This book-to-movie adaptation, however, ingeniously and adroitly infuses even another culture into its retelling of a cherished tale.
Bride and Prejudice takes viewers to three different continents during the course of the film, gives viewers a glimpse of several distinct cultures and features American, British and Indian characters to tell this story. While Pride and Prejudice was a homogeneous story, this movie is definitely not. Bride and Prejudice, as a result, features an international cast. British actors and Indian actors as well as American actors and two male actors from New Zealand, all appear in this film.
Aishwarya Rai Shines in her First All in English Language Film
Bride and Prejudice stars world-famous and leading Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai, Martin Henderson and Naveen Andrews who starred in the popular TV series Lost. Other standout actors in this movie are Indian actors Anupam Kher who plays Mr. Bakshi and Nitin Ganatr who plays Mr. Kohli. Mr. Kohli is Austen's Mr. Collins character.
There is no real surprise as to how this story ends, but viewers will delight in the characters brought to life in this cinematic version of Pride and Prejudice. The same familiar, beloved, and not so loved characters, make their appearances in this film, too.
Likewise, the main storyline of this film follows Jane Austen's book pretty closely. Four unmarried daughters live with their parents in an inpoverished state and in rural India this time instead living in the English countryside. Their mother, Mrs. Bakshi, hopes to see her daughters marry well much like Mrs. Bennet wishes to marry off her daughters to wealthy men. Viewers will sympathize with the Bakshi sisters as they empathized with the Bennet siblings. Both Mrs. Bakshi and Mrs. Bennet, at times, horrify their daughters.
Lalita Bakshi plays the Elizabeth Bennet character in Bride and Prejudice. She only wishes to marry for love. However, her mother strives to make arranged marriages for her and her sisters. In Bride and Prejudice, it's not just the Bakshi daughters that face pressure from their families to become married or to marry well.
Bride and Prejudice lures its viewers into wanting to know just how the likeable characters in this movie fare at the end of the movie. Just how do each of their stories end as compared to their literary and cinematic predecessors?
Familiar Characters and New Ones to Love
Oh, Mr. Kohli
Credit: from Wikepedia - low resolution image strictly used to accompany a movie reviewSquirm and roll your eyes over Mr. Kohli's comments and mannerisms.
Yet, for all of his less attractive qualities, Mr. Kohli is oddly endearing in this film. This is especially true once it becomes clear how happy he makes his new wife Chandra.
Mr. Collins, however, either from the Pride and Prejudice book or the 1995 mini-series does not evoke a similar sentiment. In both the book and the 1995 film, Mrs. Collins pefers to spend her time apart from Mr. Collins.
Mr. Collins is also far too obtuse in to recognize his self-absorbed behavior unlike Mr. Kholi. Mr. Kohli is quite the character, to be sure, but he is kind and has likeable qualities.
Lalita Bakshi and Will Darcy
Lalita Bakshi and Will Darcy are the main attraction as expected in this movie. They meet at a wedding and one forms an instant dislike to the other for good reason. Yet, as we know, pride, prejudice, and vanity are all common flaws and redeemable ones in Austen's work. Love conquers their differences, their social class inequalities and the disparities between their monetary fortunes.
Jaya who is Lalita's elder sister also figures prominently in the film as she and Balraj, a barrister from London, quickly fall in love. Balraj has come to India to take part in a wedding. He brings along his best friend, Will Darcy, and his sister Kiran. Darcy is wealthy and also intend to add to his family's hotel holding while he is in India. The trio meet the Bakshi family at the wedding. Other characters in the film include Lalita and Jaya's other sisters, Johnny Wickham and Will Darcy's mother and sister.
The DVD and CD Soundtrack
I, thoroughly, enjoy this film because it is so unique and because it is such a spectacle. I love the Indian music, some of which is bhangra music, and the dancing. I have also come to adore the characters in this film.
Bride and Prejudice is rated PG-13 and the DVD of the film and a CD soundtrack are both available on Amazon.com. Both the DVD and the soundtrack are worth buying. I actually bought this movie on DVD from the UK as the Region 2 version of this film was available for sale prior to the U.S. DVD release of this movie.
The U.K. Region 2 DVD release is also worth owing as Will Darcy is featured singing a song in the U.K. DVD version, as compared to the US DVD, which does not feature this performance by Martin Henderson.
Watching this movie more than once also allows for fans of the film to appreciate all of the nuances and effort that went into making this terrific movie. The bonus features found on the DVD of the movie, also offer a glimpse of the remarkable intricacies of making this movie. Just one song and dance number took several days to complete due to the large size of the crowd joining in the celebratory performance. By the way, don’t miss the hilarious outtakes from this film featured during the end credits of this movie.
What's Your Favorite Movie Version?
The 1995 Pride and Prejudice mini-series done by the BBC, starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, still remains the overwhelming favorite for most Austen fans. However, Bride and Prejudice has many merits and is a keeper for many other fans who have bought both of these enjoyable films on DVD.
Other Adaptations Released on DVD:
- 2005 film starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen
- 1995 film starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth
- 1980 film starring Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul
- 1940 film starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier
Perhaps, this cinematic story will join the ranks of your favorite adaptations of Jane Austen's masterpiece.
Likewise, Bride and Prejudice is another fantastic and pleasing effort by filmmakers to pay tribute to a literary treasure. This movie joins a still growing list of film and TV adaptations of the beloved Pride and Prejudice tale.
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