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Inspired by Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, this Western-style
Bollywood musical can't possibly achieve the heights that a union of
the best of East and West movie making and English literature might
suggests, but it manages to fulfil a delightful couple of hours of song
and dance that Western cinema these days struggles to accomplish.
Like the novel, Bride and Prejudice uses the ideas that that first impressions are often wrong, and that a person can mature if he or she keeps an open mind. The unlikely courtship of Mr Darcy and (in our movie) a beautiful Indian girl starts with mutual contempt, but moves forward as they become wiser and learn that their first instincts, based on pride, prejudice and illusions, were wrong.
The scene moves between Amritsar and Goa to London and Beverley Hills, all in brighter-than-bright super-saturated colour, with an assortment of equally colourful characters, wonderful costumes, lavish dance pieces and heavenly bollywood-style ballads. While almost everything is in English (except for a few subtitled songs), nearly all the characters are top Indian performers.
In the golden age of musicals, stars such as Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire had a whole sub-industry to draw on for good dancers who could also sing and act well, plus the technicians used to producing high-end musicals. As demand waned, so did supply, and the West is now hard pressed to produce song and dance films that don't rely on snappy editing to suggest good dancing from top actors, or heavy coaching to suggest top dancers can act. Bollywood, on the other hand, has no such shortage, and Bride and Prejudice is the sumptuously choreographed musical with Indian dancing that has become nigh impossible with western dancers.
Admittedly it's a bit cheesy at times - but it's self-consciously so, and as endearing as warm, gushy Indian hospitality. The sets and dialogue give authentic, if stereotypical, glimpses of Indian life and values. Like many east-meets-west movies, the stereotypes are a handle to allow easy assimilation of foreign ideas, and the heavy Indian involvement wards off any tendency to patronise (which is one of the themes explored in the film).
This is not high drama or high art, but it's an accomplished romantic comedy / song-and-dance film, and one that warms the heart and makes you want to wave your arms in the air Indian-dance-style for the sheer joy and exuberance of happy endings.
Vibrant, colorful, hilarious and lively, this movie was a sheer joy to watch. A refreshing take on an old classic. But be warned, this movie will not appeal to everybody - especially those who don't go to watch it with an open mind. Aishwarya Rai looks the best she ever has and turns in a confident performance in her first English speaking role - not always an easy transition. Martin Henderson is handsome and charming and the supporting cast too. But Nitin Ganatra as the comic bride seeking American is the show stealer in his over the top performance as Mr.Kohli. Gurinder Chadha has attempted what few would dare to take on and she's pulled it off. It's a comic tale of love and romance. Thoroughly enjoyable!
OK, if you don't like people breaking into song unexpectedly, don't go
see this movie - let me just say that upfront!
I went to see this re-work of my favourite novel and thought it would be atrocious and envisaged walking out of the theatre in disgust in advance. What I got was an explosion of colour and music, Bollywood style, and sure some of the songs were pretty awful, but hey, there were a few terrible numbers in Grease too, and I still love that movie!
The lead players were all virtually unknown to me but they were perfect in their roles. The role of Lalita (the Elizabeth role in the original book) was perfectly cast - she was beautiful and she really held the whole movie together. And Martin Henderson was perfect as the American version of the disdainful Mr Darcy, this time Mr Will Darcy.
Go and see this film if you are open to something new - it really is quite a faithful re-work of the story, and it is very entertaining.
The only people who won't enjoy this are people who hate musicals with a passion, or people who are purists to the original.
If you liked Chicago, then you can definitely enjoy this one too. (That also had some dodgy old songs, but the story carried you past those parts!)
Bring on the Bollywood!
Gurinder Chadha has transported Jane Austen's great novel to India.
What a charmer this film turns out to be! The adaptation of the novel
is excellent as the new locale is incorporated to the story. The
incredible Indian colors explode in front of our eyes giving the
Western viewers such an opportunity to experience a little taste of
Asihwarya Rai is without a doubt, one of the most beautiful women working in movies. This gorgeous creature plays Lalita, the unmarried girl at the center of the action. Martin Henderson is the handsome Darcy, the man that falls head over heels after meeting Lalita. Their first moments are awkward, as it's expected when there are a clash of cultures. But it's clear from the beginning is that these two have fallen in love in spite of their differences.
The musical numbers are a joy to watch. There is always music and dance in most Indian films. The director, and the choreographer take advantage of the genre in ways that fill our eyes constantly with a dance sequence more lavish than the previous one.
In minor roles Daniel Gillies plays Johnny Wickham. Marsha Mason is seen briefly as Mrs. Darcy, a woman whose prejudice against her son's love for Lalita. The cast is wonderful.
"Bride and Prejudice" is a triumph for director Gurinder Chadha.
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!
I just saw this movie at a press show, and I have to admit, it was
magnificent. The whole movie was full of color and life, and it was so
vibrant. The lyrics for some songs were a bit cheesy, but one can
overlook that when watching the movie. It portrayed a true Indian
family. I think that everyone should watch this movie and get insight
into the lives of Indian families. The songs didn't appear out of
nowhere as is the trend of most Hindi movies, the actually fit into the
movie excellently. The acting was superb and the Indian snake dance was
hilarious. However, the director should have given a bigger "role" to
the other sisters. Ash Rai did a great job and Martin Henderson was
just perfect for the role of Mr. Darcy.
This movie deserves four stars!!!!1
B&P just opened in cinemas over here this week and hey
surprise!surprise!... its wonderful holiday fare. BP is most enjoyable
despite what hardcore critics may say and the reason ...the definitive
romantic script that Jane Austen wrote with her lovable characters. No
movie based on JA novel is bound to be a disaster. BP 's genre of East
meet West is bright, funny, and wonderful escapism for a 112 min. I
enjoyed the characters...Mrs. Bakshi is a great laugh and Mr. Kholi
...spot on with their characters from P & P. Leads Rai & Henderson
needs no more to strut the beautiful selves , a suitably arrogant Darcy
and feisty Lalitha and they make a visually stunning pair. Their
acting, a major point with many, is absolutely spot- on "cheesy" for
this genre movie and I cannot see anybody else looking gorgeous enough
to play Lalitha & Darcy. The other cast members is suitably bright,
beautiful, funny and charming and Gurinda put together a very good team
for her follow up to "Bend it...' Despite being novice to Bollywood..
the music was quite nice and I saw a few cinema patrons nodding their
heads along the funky music. All in all an entertaining movie , not
traditional fare in any sense, but hey it was good enough for a
hardcore romantic movie fan like me to really DIG it...even so I 've
seen it twice already :) ..and thinking seriously of seeing it a 3rd
On another note.... IMO BP might be the breakthrough vehicle for the beautiful Ash in Hollywood as she's really a good actress....and Martin Henderson...mmmm ... lets just say Hollywood loves NZ hunks ( and so does all the die hard romantics like myself :)) and a few more hunky roles will certainly rise his star :)
well what can i say i went to this movie expecting it to be really bad as i am not a big fan of the actress aishwarya rai but i was surprised . one must look at this movie from the point that it was made more like a bolly wood movie that is dramatic , has songs (as all Hindi movies are incomplete with out) and a dash of Indian culture yes the movie is based on pride and prejudice so a lot of people will go expecting it to be like the book and hence will be surprised. the whole point to having an Indian girl who is from a different culture, background,class and country fall in love with a rich ,snobbish American boy is to make it romantic almost i would say like a mills and boons romance. and this is where the movie gets a thumbs up. martin henderson as will darcy looks smashing and plays his role well . this movie is funny as well as emotional and has all the stuff required in making a good movie one must go and see this movie and expect it to be like a bollywood film and the person will not be disappointed.this is a truly different movie and is worth a watch.
If you didn't like this movie, it's only because you expected the same
nonsense Hollywood has been pumping out for years.
India has its own unique style of popular entertainment, little appreciated or understood by much of the West. The most well known is the Bollywood musical. They're easy to roll your eyes at if you're used to seeing the subdued cinema of Hollywood - as I'm sure most Indians would do were they to see the hours of explosions & dribble that comes out of the US.
This movie delicately and playfully bridges the gap between the two genres, which is not an easy task. Starting with a Western classic storyline and draping it in the bright colors of India, it takes you on a ride around the world. Just think Jane Austin in the Punjab. It takes a tong-in-cheek approach to much of the theatrics, being well aware of how it looks to the uninitiated.
"B & P" doesn't attempt to show a foreign family simply conforming to the West's lifestyle, as so many other similar types do (like director Chadha's other well-known film, Bend It Like Beckham). It celebrates the diversity of the cultures, passes no judgment on any person or practice and allows a dignified India to be well portrayed. Much of this takes place along with music and laughter what could be better?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A really fun and entertaining movie which doesn't take itself too
seriously, and neither should you. Possible SPOILERS ahead for those
who haven't read the classic novel or watched the BBC Mini-series.
P&P is my all time favourite book and I am a huge fan of the BBC series - Colin Firth was a perfect Darcy and Jennifer Ehle an equally perfect Elizabeth. My main gripes were the costumes (could have been better) and the fact that Darcy begins to fall for Elizabeth (in spite of himself) much earlier in the book than the BBC portrayed.
Bride & P does a much better job of these points. The outfits are great as is the fact that Wil (Darcy) fancies Lalitha almost from the beginning. The downside of this version is that it was a little rushed. They could have added on 15/20 mins to fill out the storyline and dialogue, and Darcy is not nearly as proud.
The upside is that Bingley is not annoyingly cheerful, he is on the same level as Darcy and a bit of a dish actually. Similarly, Mr. Kholi (or Collins) is a bit sad and irritating rather than nasty. He is the star of this film who absolutely steals EVERY scene he is in.
I do think there was chemistry between Ash and Martin and enjoyed their scenes in LA. A longer script would have given Mr. Bakshi more lines of wit, as would have more depth to the character of Darcy, Lalitha, Jaya and Balraj. Also, Wickham's dealings with Darcy's sister could have been a bit more believable with more than just one line.
Henderson is not Firth but he was great as Darcy and has those eyes... Ash was beautiful as always - she wasn't Miss World for nothing and her acting will get better with more experience.
Despite what seem like many criticisms, this film had a warm, fun feel-good factor that it was supposed to have. Bollywood song and dance routines aside, the lyrics were a bit cheesy but then so are most Rodgers and Hammerstein classics that I grew up watching - but that doesn't make the songs any less fun or catchy. Songs in musicals are rarely meant to change your life - think Grease, the Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, but we still sing along happily to 'raindrops and roses and brown paper bags ...' which if transplanted to a modern movie would be cheesy and corny, but they have the benefit of being called classics from a different era. Well this is a different genre and it works splendidly for me. 'My lips are waiting my hips are shaking, take me to love...' 'No life without wife, oh yeah yeah yeah...'
The BBC version was great but filled with 5 hours of solid dialogue, as an Austen fan, I welcome this new perspective on the novel. There is no better way to enjoy such a classic work than to share different takes on it, it makes you appreciate the book even more - I'm off to read it again.
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