3 items from 2005
LONDON -- Bride & Prejudice is like an Elvis Presley musical from the '60s, filled with shiny bright colors, bouncy music and happy, smiling, pretty people. Like those old pop vehicles, this upbeat blend of Bollywood and Jane Austen is an acquired taste. While the plot is inane and the acting bland, the film's relentless effervescence may endear it to mainstream audiences.
Director Gurinder Chadha probably shouldn't expect to match the crossover appeal that made her last film, Bend It Like Beckham, such a hit, but Bride & Prejudice will succeed with moviegoers seeking an agreeably good time.
Chadha and co-writer Paul Mayeda Berges have adapted Austen's Pride and Prejudice to make the Bennet sisters the Bakshi sisters, taking them from rural England to rural India. There is a Mr. Darcy, however, in the form of a rich American hotelier.
The traditions and formalities of one culture appear to translate reasonably well though only lip service is given to the notion that the Bakshi family is poor. India has seldom been portrayed as so ravishingly clean and gorgeous.
The Bakshis live in Amritsar, an Indian town off the tourist track, where four beautiful girls are ripe for marriage and given every encouragement by their ambitious mother, Mrs. Bakshi (Nadira Babbar). Reigning Bollywood queen Aishwarya Rai plays the loveliest sister, Lalita, but the others -- Jaya (Namrata Shirodkar), Lakhi (Peeya Rai Choduri) and Maya (Meghnaa) -- are also head-turners.
Potential suitors arrive in the form of the American Darcy Martin Henderson), a London-based Indian named Balraj (Naveen Andrews) and one Mr. Kholi (Nitin Ganatra), an Indian gentleman who has made a success of accountancy in Los Angeles. There's also a good-looking but smarmy British hunk named Johnny Wickham (Daniel Gillies), who is at odds with Darcy.
The paths of romance hold true to the established patterns of Austen and Presley, which is to say there are several misunderstandings, the wrong things are said and feelings are hurt before love finds a way.
The locations are all made to look fabulous, from Amritsar and Goa to London and Beverly Hills, and the performers are all scrumptious. The music is loud and energetic, the dancing athletic and voluptuous. Resistance to the picture's evident wish to please becomes futile. In the end, it's impossible not to smile.
BRIDE & PREJUDICE
Pathe Pictures presents in association with U.K. Film Council and Kintop Pictures and Bend It Films a Nayah Chadha Prod. in association with Inside Track
Director: Gurinder Chadha
Writers: Paul Mayeda Berges, Gurinder Chadha
Producers: Deepak Nayar, Gurinder Chadha
Executive producers: Francois Iverned, Cameron McCracken, Duncan Reid
Director of photography: Santosh Sivan
Production designer: Nick Ellis
Music: Craig Pruess
Costumes: Ralph Holes & Eduardo Castro
Editor: Justin Krish
Lalita: Aishwarya Rai
Darcy: Martin Henderson
Balraj: Naveen Andrews
Kiran: Indira Varma
Jaya: Namrata Shirodkar
Lakhi: Peeya Rai Chodhuri
Mrs. Bakshi: Nadira Babbar
Mr. Bakshi: Anupam Kher
Wickham: Daniel Gillies
Mr. Kholi: Nitin Ganatra
Catherine Darcy: Marsha Mason
Georgie: Alexis Bledel
Chandra: Sonali Kulkarni
No MPAA rating
Running time -- 101 minutes »
Sony's Hitch arrived in first place at the weekend boxoffice with a better-than-expected estimate of $45.3 million, according to Sunday's studio figures. The romantic comedy starring Will Smith was expected to debut in the $30 million range. Playing in 3,575 locations, the PG-13-rated affair averaged $12, 671 per theater. The weekend's only other new wide release, Buena Vista's animated Pooh's Heffalump Movie opened at No. 5 with an estimated $6 million. In second place was the horror entry Boogeyman from Sony's Screen Gems unit with an estimated $10.8 million, down 43% from its first place finish a week ago. 20th Century Fox's Are We There Yet? held steady in third place with an estimated $8.5 million. Warner Bros.' Million Dollar Baby moved up one spot to fourth with an estimated $7.6 million. Among limited release debuts, Magnolia's actioner Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior collected an estimated $1.3 million from 387 locations. Miramax's Bride and Prejudice debuted to an estimated $388,000 from 32 locations for a $12,125 average. Universal's NC-17-rated documentary Inside Deep Throat came away with an estimated $91,000 from 12 locations. Final figures will be released Monday. »
Recently-divorced Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein is dating a British starlet 24 years his junior. Weinstein, the man behind numerous hits including Pulp Fiction and Cold Mountain, went public with his relationship with Georgina Chapman by introducing her as his girlfriend at Sunday's Golden Globe Awards. Weinstein, 52, first met the 28-year-old Londoner a year ago, and former model Chapman - who has since spent an increasing amount of time in Los Angeles - even managed to land a small part in Miramax production Bride And Prejudice. Weinstein says, "We were friends and now we have moved on to this nice situation." An insider adds, "They were clearly getting on terribly well and I know they often had fairly intimate dinners together and went to some private parties in London." Weinstein's divorce from his wife Eve was finalized at the end of 2004. »
3 items from 2005
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