A Bollywood-style update of Jane Austen's classic tale, in which Mrs. Bakshi is eager to find suitable husbands for her four unmarried daughters. When the rich single gentlemen Balraj and Darcy come to visit, the Bakshis have high hopes, though circumstance and boorish opinions threaten to get in the way of romance. Written by
When I first started watching Bollywood flicks back in the day, I was always on my high horse (being a connoisseur of independent and foreign cinema that I am), and I was constantly berating these movies which always had seemingly trite plots, typical main characters, and a number of flaws spawning from lazy scriptwriting/editing. Over the years, though, I've continued watching it because I love the sound of the music and the way everything surreally breaks into song and dance -- no matter how ridiculous the music itself is.
What Gurinder Chadha has done here is create a very, very solid Bollywood movie. Unlike most Bollywood flicks, "Bride & Prejudice" has a solid script. I can't attest to the effectiveness of the film's adaptation of the novel, but I genuinely loved this movie enough to know that once it becomes available on DVD, I will go out and buy it. The songs are very typical, yes -- as are the dance routines, but that's all this is. I don't think Chadha was aiming to make a be-all, end-all of Bollywood movies to introduce the genre to Western audiences. Another note: everyone seems to comopare this to Chadha's previous flick -- "Bend it Like Beckham" -- the two are incomparable...it's like comparing apples and oranges. This is strictly lighthearted fare and succeeds at it.
The acting in the film supports the movie itself. That means that while nothing is exceptional acting, this movie is supposed to just be a feel-good romantic comedy and all the performances in the flick (especially Nadira Babbar's) contribute to that. The jokes -- while some are a bit tired -- deliver the laughs.
I also want to disagree with those who complain about the lack of chemistry between Rai and Henderson's characters because I think they work just fine; they're able to show the cultural clash well in the way their characters don't exactly sweep each other off their feet. And Rai needs to be commended for doing what few Bollywood actresses would do: giving up fame and fortune to try new acting prospects.
If you're looking for the apex of cinematic art, don't watch this flick, but if you're looking for a two-hour feel-good romp littered with bright colors and toe-tapping musical numbers, this is right up your alley. It gives us a break from the by-the-numbers romantic comedies that Hollywood's been churning out for so many years.
One last thing: this film is not Bollywood, but it is done in the style of Bollywood and perhaps that's why the self-conscious aspects of the movie also succeed. The large song and dance routines are a bit random, but then also become part of the backdrop for larger events of the movie to take place.
All in all, Chadha's made another great flick! Go check it out if you can!
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