Blog Response—Bride and Prejudice

330px-Bride-and-prejudice

1. Analysis of the Book

Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” is set in nineteen century England where the Bennet family is trying to marry off their daughters to respectable and wealthy men. The novel is centered on the Bennet family, and Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy’s relationship. Several of the themes in the novel are class, reputation, gender, and love. The novel shows how women in nineteenth century England were expected to behave and the mannerisms they had.

2. Analysis of the Film

“Bride and Prejudice” is a Bollywood version of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” and directed by Gurinder Chadha. The colorful visuals and musical numbers throughout the film give a unique perspective on the nineteenth century novel. Set in Amritsar, India, Mrs. Bakshi is determined to marry off her four daughters to respectable men. The film’s Elizabeth Bennet is Lalita Bakshi, who is a stubborn, strong-willed woman. While Lalita resists Mr. Darcy at first, they slowly grow closer on a flight between London to Los Angeles. The main themes of the film are culture, imperialism, and economics. While the Bollywood style is colorful and filled with “feel good” moments, the musical numbers overpowers the main story several times throughout the film.

3. Analysis of the Adaptation

While the film, “Bride and Prejudice” mostly stays faithful to the story of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” the major themes of the film differ from the novel it was adapted from. A few of the major themes of Austen’s novel, gender, class, and reputation, are replaced in the film by the focus of culture, economics, and imperialism. The themes that Chadha chose relate more to India and Bollywood than the themes of the novel. Chadha modernizes the story by giving the film issues that the Indian culture has since becoming an independent country. The multicultural aspect that Chadha adds in her film gives the story of “Pride and Prejudice” a new perspective. Even though the film and the novel are similar story-wise, the novel’s themes and language get lost in the Bollywood version. Chadha seems more determined to show the Bollywood style of the film than fully adapt Austen’s novel into film. It is a colorful film about a love story, but it loses the Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” somewhere in all the musical numbers.

4. Online Research on the Film

Manohla Dargis’ review of “Bride and Prejudice” in the New York Times described the film as an overly-clichéd version of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with Bollywood mixed in.
 http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/11/movies/mr-darcy-and-lalita-singing-and-dancing.html?_r=0

While praising the performance of the lead actress, Aishwarya Rai, Robert Ebert calls Gurinder Chadha’s adaptation of Austen’s pride and prejudice free-spirited that has a mix of everything.
 http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/bride-and-prejudice-2005

Suchitra Mathur looks at the film’s text and how it creates a bridge between Hollywood and Bollywood. In the terms of characters and themes, the film mostly remains faithful to the novel. However, it also undermines some of the serious text of the novel with singing and dancing. She writes:

“Instead of attempting to render the target language transparent, making it a non-intrusive medium that derives all its meaning from the source text, Bride and Prejudice foregrounds the conventions of Bollywood masala films, forcing its audience to grapple with this “new” language on its own terms. “

Rather than giving the film a neutral language that people who enjoy Bollywood or Hollywood films, it forces the viewer to adapt to a Bollywood style language. The film minimizes the original text and spends more time on the Bollywood perspective. It remains more faithful to Bollywood rather than the original text, which it was inspired from.
http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0705/06-mathur.php

5. Critical Argument Paragraph

“Bride and Prejudice” has several entertaining moments, but the “feel good” nature and musical numbers slowly become more overwhelming as the film progresses. The colorful visuals that Chadha uses make the film enjoyable to watch. The snake dancing was both weird and fun to watch. However, the “feel good” nature became more redundant as the film continued because it felt that the issues being brought up were second to the musical numbers. The dinner scene when Mrs. Bakshi suggests a courtship between Lalita and Mr. Kholi, the viewer sees how disgusted Lalita is by the idea. Rather than have a character-developing moment with Lalita and her mother by talking about the issue of marrying Mr. Kholi, who is wealthy, but also rude and inappropriate, the next scene jumps into song and dance that mocks the man. There are several other moments that the film jumps into a musical number when it could benefit more from a talk. The film seems to use the “feel good” nature and musical numbers as a way to not discuss the major issues or events of the story.

Word Cited

Suchitra Mathur
“From British “Pride” to Indian “Bride””
MJC Journal
May 2007
http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0705/06-mathur.php

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2 thoughts on “Blog Response—Bride and Prejudice

  1. There is an argument to be made that the themes in the book are the same just shown in a slightly different light. Both families are working within the bounds of their respective cultures. Both genders are struggling to find their place in families that seem to have different ideas for what they should do. In the book and Indian Culture from the movie women were meant to be creatures of leisure. Economics play a significant role in both the book (marry to retain class/standing) and film (marry to raise your class) and at times drive the feelings of love they might or might not feel. Although unconventional, the movie does a much better job representing the original text than given credit for.

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  2. Good analysis of the book, film, and adaptation. The student research links were OK, but they were mostly reviews. I suggest you try some searches using the UMD library database and look at some online film journals. More ideas here:

    https://engl329b.wordpress.com/research/

    Your critical argument is an argument but it lacks a thesis statement at the beginning. Your thesis statement is actually your final sentence:

    The film seems to use the “feel good” nature and musical numbers as a way to not discuss the major issues or events of the story.

    That’s a good thesis. You could just re-phrase it and put it at the beginning of the paragraph. That way the reader has some guidance as to where you’re going with your argument. And it makes it easier for you to stay on point. Take a look at the model critical argument paragraph, just to see how the thing is put together:

    https://engl329b.wordpress.com/2015/05/29/critical-argument-paragraph-model/

    10/10. Joseph Byrne. ENGL329B.

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