"Bride and Prejudice" is not a film for people who dislike characters breaking randomly into elaborate song and dance. It is not a film for those who donít enjoy having all of their senses assaulted with vibrant colours and sounds. Itís certainly not fine art in any way, but itís still a delightfully happiness-inducing film, with songs that make you want to move.
Jane Austinís novel gets infused with Indian culture, and Bride and Prejudice is what you get. Aishwarya Rai plays "Elizabeth Bennet", or Lalita Bakshi, a smart, well read girl living in rural India. Her overbearing mother is eager to get her five daughters married off to rich men, and the beautiful Lalita is the first to be put on the market. When she meets Will Darcy at a party, it is hate at first sight. She thinks he is condescending and imperialistic, and that he thinks she is a naÔve and ignorant village girl. Eventually, they fall for each other, but in the meantime, there is Mr. Wickham, who first toys with Lalitaís affection, then with her younger sister, Luckyís. Locations are in London, California, and India; there is a performance by Ashanti. This is a movie that will leave your head spinning a little, but that is by no means a bad thing.
The music and dance in this movie is fun, but after a while you begin to wish that theyíd get over the song and on to the story. Not being a huge fan of musicals, I may not be the best impartial observer.
I loved "Bend it like Beckham", by the same director, Gurinder Chadha; I saw it six times in theatres, own the DVD and still watch it compulsively. Bend it like Beckham is a brilliant movie, but Bride and Prejudice didnít stand up to itís (admittedly lofty) standards.
If you want a fun movie that doesnít make you think, but does make you have the sudden urge to don a sari and dance, "Bride and Prejudice" is the movie for you. However, it isnít recommended for people seeking fine art.
This is Natalie Johnson for Movie Magazine.
© 2005 - Natalie Johnson - Air Date: 1/19/04
Bride and Prejudice
Director: Gurinder Chadha, 2004