Bride and Prejudice: The Review

Title Bride and Prejudice
Director Gurinder Chadha
Stars Martin Henderson, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Nadira Babbar
Year of release 2004
You will love this if… … you are a fan of Pride and Prejudice and wants to try something new. 

 

I am a huge Jane Austen fan.

And as I’m also a film nutter different adaptions of Jane’s wonderful books gets played on repeat in my house. I’m on the verge of knowing every line of Pride and Prejudice and now when spring finally is here I tend to watch them even more, to be inspired by the beautiful pastel costumes for my spring wardrobe.

I do also have another newly found interest: Bollywood films. I only watched my first Bollywood film a couple of years ago, and I haven’t seen many, but the soundtracks of the films I love gets played on repeat and I love to watch the amazing plotlines.

As I was browsing Netflix one day I found something peculiar: a film called Bride and Prejudice, with a very Bollywood like cover. Bride and Prejudice? Could that be… an adaption of Pride and Prejudice? After reading the description I realized I had found the mother load: this is the modern Bollywood version of the esteemed classic. But it took me some time to actually watch it. Why? I was afraid that it would not live up to my expectations and as Bollywood films usually are approximately 3 hours and in Hindi it takes a bit of an effort to watch a whole film. But I finally watched it- and it really surprised me.

In short Pride and Prejudice is a story of a poor family with five daughters that their mother is trying to marry off into advantageous marriages. The proud and strong- minded daughter Elizabeth meets the unattainable, rich, and prejudicial Darcy and after they have clashed love grows between them. Pride and Prejudice is about breaking social standings in the name of love, at the same time it is a comment and a satire on the contemporary regency society.

This adaption of a story set in regency England to a story set in Modern India, London, and Los Angeles works surprisingly well. The cultural norm of marriage transcends time in this adaption: for both good and for bad. Good because the modern adaption works well, bad because it is uncomfortable that a norm that is 200 years old still is current. As I don’t have experience of the Indian culture I can’t say if the portrayal is accurate or not, but nevertheless it is unpleasant to see such a portrayal where old time values are still current. In Bride and Prejudice it’s not only societal status that sets the heroine and hero apart, but also culture as Lalita (Elizabeth) is Indian and Darcy is a white American, something that seems to have more weight than status, unlike the original where the cultural aspect did not exist. Not only do you get the clash of the classes, but the clash of the cultures that gives Bride and Prejudice more depth and invites to a discussion of culture and marriage: does class and culture matter when you are in love?

Unlike classical Bollywood films the film is entirely in English (except for one song) instead of being in Hindi (or hinglish, a mixture of hindi and english). For a Bollywood fan it can be quite annoying, but if you don’t’ like foreign language films Bride and Prejudice is a good way to start your Bollywood journey. Again I do not know the Indian culture but it seems odd that a family living in India speaks English amongst themselves and not their mother tongue and unfortunately it destroys the versamilitude (the believability of a work of fiction) of the film. While the story holds up I can’t help by feeling disappointed by the songs (Bollywood films usually have a number of musical numbers), only one of them grabbed my attention. Again this is a question of preference of language as the song I liked were the only song not sung in English and it was because of the language that I did not appreciate the songs.

Bride and Prejudice is a must see for anyone that likes Jane Austen adaptions and if you want to try Bollywood films but find it hard to watch a film that you need subtitles for this is the choice for you. But if you want to watch a proper Bollywood film there are plenty of other films that are better to start with (I highly recommend 3 idiots, click here for Sky Movies list of the 50 best Bollywood films to find more films to watch). As the original Bride and Prejudice comments and satires contemporary society and invites to a discussion of love and marriage.

In the end Bride and Prejudice is a good and interesting adaption I will surely watch again, would I be a Jane Austen fan if I didn’t?

 

You can read Amanda’s review about Star Wars: The Force Awakens here and her review of Zoolander 2 here.

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