The movie Bride and Prejudice puts an entirely different spin on
Jane Austen's story of spirited courtship - Bollywood-style.
dance and spectacle merge with love, vanity and social pressures,
as director Gurinder Chadha transports the comic tale of a witty
young woman trying to find a suitable husband to a cross-cultural
setting that spans 21st century India, London and America.
in Austen's "Pride and Prejudice, Pride and Prejudice brings
together two people with polar opposite views, but this time they
are also from opposite ends of the earth, as East literally meets
West in a riot of color, comedy and emotion.
and West have always fused in the films of Gurinder Chadha. Ethnically
Indian, raised in London yet also having lived in Los Angeles, Chadha
is herself a kind of cultural mosaic, and draws artistic influence
from the distinctive filmmaking styles of all three countries.
unique sensibility first came to the fore in the award-winning film
"Bhaji On The Beach." More recently, she won fans around
the world with the award-winning, Golden Globe-nominated "Bend
It Like Beckham," which blended cross-cultural humour, a rousing
story about girls' strength and Chadha's trademark cheeky exuberance
into a runaway hit.
the 18th century, Jane Austen's novels have themselves travelled
the world, and have been translated into dozens of different languages.
More recently, they have provided creative inspiration for numerous
feature films - from extravagant costume dramas to the thoroughly
contemporary comedy of "Bridget Jones's Diary." But was
Jane Austen ready for Bollywood? Chadha believes that Jane Austen
and Bollywood were always meant for each other.
the movie Chadha has moved the classic story of a young woman seeking
to break away from social conventions in the name of love from 18th
century England to 21st century Amritsar, India. It is here that
the meddlesome Mrs. Bakshi sets out to find suitable marriage matches
for her four beautiful daughters - only to have her plans foiled
when the ravishing but headstrong Lalita (Aishwarya Rai, known as
the "Queen of Bollywood") announces she will only marry
Lalita meets the wealthy American hotel tycoon Will Darcy (Martin
Henderson), at last sparks fly. But is it love or spite that's creating
so much tension between them? Lalita is incensed by Darcy's seeming
lack of respect for India; while Darcy is flummoxed by Lalita's
impression of him as a spoiled American. And yet . . . they can't
seem to stop thinking of one another.
enchanted and suspicious, Lalita and Darcy soon fall prey to a series
of comedic misunderstandings as Lalita is pursued by two other suitors:
the mysterious English lawyer Wickham (Daniel Gillies) and the hilariously
unsuitable California transplant Kholi (Nitin Ganatra),with whom
a marriage has been arranged.
seems the closer Lalita and Darcy get to one another the more pride
and prejudice conspire to come between them until their undeniable
feelings knock all their preconceptions about each other's lives
and countries for a loop.
Chadha believes that Western audiences are more familiar with Bollywood
conventions than they think. "I think there is a very strong
link between Bollywood and the great Hollywood tradition of musicals
that have recently become popular again," she notes. "I
grew up watching Bollywood movies in the same theatre where I also
saw 'The Sound of Music' and 'West Side Story' and there was something
very similar in them - that same spirit of freedom."
BRIDE and PREJUDICE, Chadha hoped to capture the psychedelic colours,
winking sensuality and campy outrageousness of Indian choreography
while blending in Western-influenced, Broadway, dance club and urban
styles to create unique East-West dance numbers. She started by
bringing to the film two of Bollywood's most legendary artists:
choreographer Saroj Khan (who is said to have worked on more than
2,000 films in her career!) and award-winning composer AnuMalik.
Then, Chadha explained to them that she wanted to bust out of the
typical Bollywood formula.
Mega Star Rai has starred in films shot in many of India's diverse
languages, from Hindi to Tamil to Bengali, but BRIDE and PREJUDICE
marks the first time she has performed in English. "I might
speak English every day of my life, but this was still a fresh and
challenging experience," she says. Anyway Hollywood Meeting
Bollywood or vice versa will be quite a moment for all cine fans.