Monday, November 28, 2005
Bride & Prejudice
I've replayed some of the tunes on the Monsoon Wedding and Bend It Like Beckham DVDs over and over. So I took out the DVD for the Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha's musical tribute to Bollywood, Hollywood and Jane Austen.
The language of Bride & Prejudice, in which Mr. Darcy becomes a Californian and Elizabeth Bennet a Sikh named Lalita Bakshi, loses the eloquence of Austen, and most of the music isn't a lot better. Unlike Monsoon Wedding and Bend It Like Beckham, which used Bollywood hits of the time, Bride & Prejudice has original songs, and they're just not hits. And instead of being all Bollywood, they pay tribute to Bollywood musicals, Broadway musicals, Hip Hop and other traditions. But I still liked the big Bollywood number.
The movie's saved by the Bollywood number and three other things: the look of the movie, its look at Indian domestic life, and the Indian star in the lead role, Aishwarya Rai. She gained 20 pounds for the movie (because she thought her character shouldn't look like a Supermodel), but put her on screen with fifty people, and she's still the one you look at.
Rai is not a great actress by Western standards -- like Ginger Rogers, she often substitutes mugging for acting. But she mugs well, and she's India's biggest star, with 17,000 sites on the world wide web.
* At least the Bollywood song and dance made for Westerners. I've never managed to sit through a real Bollywood movie.
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Just a correction, Aishwarya Rai studied architecture only till her 3rd year of college in Mumbai (Bombay) before entering the world of glamour.
Posted by: Virendra Rawat at Nov 30, 2005 1:53:57 PM
Well, we can dream.
Posted by: john massengale at Dec 1, 2005 12:16:42 PM