Saturday, February 19, 2005

Bride and Prejudice Redux

I wrote a piece on Bride and Prejudice when the movie released in India and UK. At that point in time, I had no clue on how the movie was going to turn out. My analysis was solely based on the reports that I had read on websites and a few trailors that I saw. Yesterday, I had a chance to catch the movie at an art-house cinema hall, the Egyptian theatre. Turns out my guess about it being a moderate critical and commercial success was bang on (Pat my back :-))

So, what did I think of the movie? It was actually enjoyable. Since most people are familiar with the story, I am just going to point out the pros and the cons.

Pros:
1. Seamless integration of a Bollywood concept into a Hollywood movie. You don't notice the song and dance too much.
2. English movie with Indian actors, but it never appears ackward.
3. Lush with colors, shifting locations from Amritsar to London to LA helps.
4. Nikhil Ganatra as Kholi (ya, that's how they spell it in the movie) is terrific as the settled NRI shopping for a bride in India.
5. You should see how each character in Bride and Prejudice has been given an equivalent name. If you remember the book, you'll make the connection. For exampl, the two balls in the book are replaced by dandiya and bhangra. Smart, huh?
6. Aishwarya Rai looks really good on screen

Cons:
1. Aishwarya Rai looks really good on screen. She can't act though. All points in my Ash rant make it worse to enjoy here.
2. Martin Henderson should be a Dudley, not a Darcy. Zero personality. I winced in pain as I watch him fumble a part that Laurence Olivier and Colin Firth have excelled in.
3. Music is a letdown. Barring a couple of hummable numbers, Anu Malik missed a golden chance
4. Story lacks pace in the middle portions. Could have been spruced up.

All important question. Is it a successful crossover attempt? I'd say 3.25/5. Yes, it has the right idea. I sat in a theatre where only 4-5 people were Indians. The rest were largely white Americans, and I could see them enjoy the movie in parts. I think the accents take time getting used to, the song lyrics are indecipherable, and the loud characters are not easy to identify with. But the humor was something they connected to, there were no grunts when the songs came on, and I heard some really positive comments in the hallway when we were exiting.

Did I enjoy the movie? Yes. Check out the reverential nod to Bollywood when they stroll on the Santa Monica beach with gospel groups and Baywatch babes singing 'Show them to love'. It was hilarious. If you are an NRI like me, you'll 'get' most of the Kholi jokes and trust me, they are funny.Gurinder Chadha does not deride Bollywood, but does caricaturize Indians at time in the movie. There is not much brain, not as much wit as the original book. But this is the 21st century anyway, right?

This is not a Bend it like Beckham because it was never meant to be one. I'd recommend that you watch this movie once. Don't expect too much and thou shall come out pleasantly surprised as I was.

Post Script:
This is NOT a movie blog. I should remind myself of this every morning. Namesake is terrific so far and I did not get a chance to see Cold Mountain. Next week, I am off to my alma mater: Texas A&M University, College Station to give a, ahem, lecture to the Computer Science Honors Society. Of course, Avinash is still there, so that is motivation enough to put together some powerpoint slides and talk incessentlty for an hour or so.

5 comments:

phucker said...

Hey Patth,
great review, now I will go and check the movie out.
Y is your blog not a movie blog, or an anything-blog? I thought it was a solilowkey? :-p Keep writing those reviews man, we agree on most ('cept the srk movies, heh).

Archana said...

Bride and Prejudice is a movie for entertainment seekers.....its too colourful that I had one of my friends asking me "do those kind of dance sequences happen in real life too??!!" Ash is eye candy...she is simply awesome on screen but no idea about her acting...may be I can underestimate it! I also liked Naveen Andrews [Balraj]...he is too good as also Nikhil Ganatra.

phucker said...

just a small update. Went to Times square last night, and the 9 pm show for Bride & prejudice was SOLD OUT!@@!##@@$#????$%$@$#

Geetanjali said...

I haven't been able to get myself to see the desi version og B&P - but have you seen the BBC version of P&P with Colin Firth (of Bridget Jones' Diary) as Darcy and Jennifer Ehle (of Possession) as Elizabeth? It's a dream - wonder how you'd react to the movie if you could compare the two? A frnd who's a die-hard fan of P&P came away appalled with B&P sp since she couldn't help but think of Darcy as played by Colin Firth!

Mayhaps I should put aside my Ash prejudices and see it...hmmm!

PS Yes I agree with you - this aint a movie review blog ;-) But the movie reviews sure rock dude!

sd said...

Mumbai rocks - no question about that!!

sd