Bride and Prejudice (PG)Thursday 07 Oct 2004
Directed by Gurinder Chadha, starring Aishwarya Rai, Martin Henderson, Naveen Andrews, Indira Varma, Namrata Shirodkar, Peeya Rai Chodhary, Nadira Babbar, Anupam Kher, Daniel Gillies and Nitin Ganatra.
'Bride and Prejudice' is a charming tale of a young Indian woman who struggles to find her own way in a traditional society, which still sees marriage as a woman's top priority in life.
Director Gurinder Chadha, of 'Bend It Like Beckham' fame, successfully relocates Jane Austen's famous 19th century novel 'Pride and Prejudice' - a book that explored class divisions in England at the time - in modern day India by concentrating on people's first impressions of other cultures in an increasingly homogeneous world.
The film centres on Lalita Bakshi (Rai), a bold, brazen and beautiful young Indian woman who refuses to accept the limitations imposed upon her by societal forces. She is particularly irked by the custom of arranged marriages. Her mother, however, is obsessed with trying to marry off her four daughters to wealthy suitors.
Three men vie for Lalita's affections. The first is Darcy (Henderson), a rich American hotelier who makes a poor first impression and struggles to gain her acceptance thereafter. The second is Wickham (Gillies), an Englishman with a bohemian lifestyle and devilish charm that appeals to the feisty Ms Bakshi. Finally, there is Kholi (Ganatra) a distant cousin of the family who has made it as a successful accountant in Los Angeles, but lacks basic social skills.
Chadha merges Bollywood with its more illustrious American counterpart to good effect. She bravely takes the storyline to London and Los Angeles - a feat which demanded three separate crews to complete the movie.
Typically, there are plenty of musical scenes, some of which are excellent. Unfortunately, some numbers succumb too easily to American tastes, which allows a couple of them to become unnecessarily 'Grease'-esque. Also the proliferation of such scenes, a sacred tenet in Bollywood, means that there are some gaping holes in the subplots, making the ending seem a fraction rushed.