Bride and Prejudice

1: Analysis of the Book

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is one of the best-known and best-loved English romantic novels. After years of neglect, Austen’s work has enjoyed a revival in movies, on stage, and in television mini-series. Readers have enjoyed this book for decades because of the romantic love story and because of the well-drawn characters. The book is known for being a period piece, but its longevity stems from the language, the deeply romantic themes and the strong female protagonist who seemed ahead of her time. As a subject for adaptation to other media, this book is a great one. It appeals to adults of all age groups and has a love story that even young women today can appreciate.

 

2: Analysis of the Movie

Bride and Prejudice is a film very much in the Bollywood tradition. The movie made me feel a sense of Indian culture, even though I realize that its depiction of India is not entirely accurate. It was a bit surprising when Ashanti , an American singer, made a cameo appearance to sing two songs called “Take Me to Love” and “Touch My Body,”which had no role in the storyline of the film whatsoever. While it was a colorful and entertaining film, the story suffered from a poor script and poor acting. However, the movie had a pretty low budget of only $7 million, which made it a smash hit as it garnered $24million at box offices around the world.

 

 

3: Analysis of the Adaptation

This film is perhaps one of the oddest adaptations of a book ever made. To take a 19th century romantic novel of manners and turn it into a Bollyhood-style Hollywood movie is certainly a daunting proposition. While the plot and love story of two people from different classes in society is the same  in both the book and movie, it is difficult to tell much about the social classes in the film. For one thing, the “poor” family of girls look richly dressed and coifed. They don’t portray any sign of being of a lower class than the young men they are after. What makes the book especially enjoyable is the satire of the upper class. In the movie, there isn’t enough difference between the classes to make a satire stick.  Another similarity is the likeableness of the main characters Lolita and Elizabeth. However one likes Lolita because of her spectacular looks, and one likes Elizabeth because of her brains. In fact the entire tone and feel of the book and movie are so different that if it weren’t for the movie’s title, one might not even the connection.

 

 

4: Online Research

http://movie-gazette.com/975/bride-and-prejudice

This review from the movie-gazette site is another panning of the movie. It shows off what needs to be taken out of the movie, which includes “those god awful musical numbers”. The summary of the movie pans the whole thing by simply saying that it is “a lively attempt at adapting Bollywood for the masses and all you need is a set of ear-plugs and you’re good to go.”

 

 

http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/bride-and-prejudice-2005

In this review, Ebert gives a review that basically pans the movie. As he says, Bollywood musicals are like the “Swiss army knives of the cinema.” He doesn’t like the movie much, though there are some scenes that help the movie out.

 

 

http://dearauthor.com/features/film-reviews/friday-film-review-bride-and-prejudice/

This review is about one of the only reviews that actually doesn’t pan the movie, and gives it a good review. While the author, named Jayne, says that the purists are appalled by the movie, she clearly isn’t. She loves the movie because “The story is shown to be eternal and translatable to any country or time.”

 

http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11131&reviewer=392

This review by David Cornelius not only pans the movie, it basically throws everything overboard and he goes on a review oriented killing spree. He hates the movie so much that he basically ends his review by saying ““Bride” trips all over itself as it tries to blend genres and it falls face-first into the mud. This is a dreadful movie experiment. And yet, like Chadha’s previous failures, people seem to like it. I just don’t get it.” 

5: Critical Analysis

Is Bride and Prejudice too entertaining? How does the “feel good” nature of the film distract audiences from more critical issues presented by the film? Or are those critical issues missing? If so, why is this important?

 

I agree that “Bride and Prejudice” has a “feel good” flair, although I am not sure I would go so far as to call it entertaining. This movie is a light love-story filled with healthy, mostly well-meaning if socially awkward people, set in an upscale “rural” village in India. While the issues of poverty, class, and women’s place in society provide background for this film’s story, none of them are explored in any serious way. It is obvious from the heightened style of the clothing, setting, and song and dance numbers, that this movie is meant as pure entertainment. While Chandha could have used this film as an opportunity to deliver a message about the place of women in Indian society today, or perhaps pointed out the vast disparity in wealth between rural Indians and those who have emigrated to America, she chose very clearly not to do so. As a musical with several exaggerated song and dance sequences, the movie keeps a rapid pace of over-the-top jokes, smarmy courtship scenes and embarrassing family moments. Nowhere is there an indication of an attempt to further the viewer’s understanding of India or deeper interpersonal themes. It seems that the movie does what it set out to do: entertain Bollywood style, and nothing more.

3 thoughts on “Bride and Prejudice

  1. I don’t think the movie was purely meant as entertainment, just judging from the Bollywood flare of the film. Looking at other Bollywood movies and previous work from Chadha, Bollywood films, particularity this one, does explore and further the viewer’s understanding of India, it’s in the subtext of the character’s dialogue. The viewer has the ability to further explore India on his or her own after watching the film, since most films are subjective anyway.

  2. Anthony,

    Your analysis of the book and film are well written and composed. However, I feel that you did not incorporate much of the themes within the novel nor the film. You mention a lot of trivial things, like how much money the film made and you also generalize too much instead of giving thoughtful insight.

    In your adaptation analysis, you mention how the girls seem to have no sense of a lower class standing in comparison to the men. I think this was implied as the parents were so eager to marry off their daughters. Especially in the scene where the mother says in front of her daughters’ rich suitors how pleased she was that they were rich. So even though it was not explicitly stated or portrayed in the film, I think through the dialogue and discourse, the audience gets the sense that this family is not as well off as the American and British suitors. I would make another claim about Lalita’s political views on the ‘real’ India, which she puts in stark contrast to Darcy’s “theme park”.

    I’m guessing that you are not familiar with Bollywood or its films. These films are meant to have colorful and extravagant costumes with upbeat music. However, I will disagree with you on your statement, “It seems that the movie does what it set out to do: entertain Bollywood style, and nothing more.” I think that even though this film incorporates a Bollywood and India style, it is addresses more than just Bollywood entertainment. It address interracial marriage and diaspora.

    I look forward to reading more of your blog posts.

    ~Melissa

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