Bride and Prejudice (2004)

“I may be healthy, wealthy and wise, but as they say, ‘No life . . . without wife.’” –Mr. Kholi

As one would assume, a film by the title of Bride and Prejudice has very much to say on the subject of marriage. This movie is a colorful musical centered on the themes of tradition, cultural understanding, and above all . . . marriage. ‘Oh,’ one may say, ‘but wait, isn’t there a famous novel by a well-known late 18th century novelist with a similar title, also concerning marriage?’ Quite right, actually: the pun’s really hard to miss. Allow me to take you through Gurinder Chadha’s Bollywood rendition of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice—did I mention it’s a musical?

Lalita Bakshi is one of four sisters crushed under the weight of her mother’s desire for wed daughters and many grandchildren–and it looks like Mrs. Bakshi is in luck when the enticing Mr. Balraj makes an appearance at a mutual friend’s wedding. But if you think the action is going to proceed from there, you’re mistaken: all that plot falls by the wayside in favor of the movie’s first stunning musical number. The music in Bride and Prejudice is near fantastical; frenetic, soulful, bursting at the seams with color, and oh-so-very-clever. I’ll admit that it can be a little overwhelming at first if you’re not used to Bollywood musicals, but you’ll soon grow to love the music..

It’s pleasant on the eyes and ears, but how does the plot hold up? Lalita at first finds her supposed love interest, William Darcy, to be an ignorant American not capable of appreciating anything beyond his business. She goes off with another man, Johnny Wickham, who seems to be perfect. But will things work out either way? Her mother is trying to hook up one of her daughters with a distant relative, Mr. Kholi, whilst her sister, Jaya, has her heart set on Mr. Balraj. Everybody has plans, and it can be confusing if one’s not paying attention. No need to fret, though: it all works out in the end, marriage included.

Romantic drama and Bollywood music: it’s perfect, unless those two concepts put you ill at ease. Not me, though. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to convince my neighborhood to help me stage a musical number.

Galen Russell is an aspiring biologist with a sweet spot for the audiovisual. Currently living in Portland, OR he’s surrounded by loving friends and family who offer him inspiration every day…on a gold filigree platter. It’s hard to reach down from his pedestal, but he manages.

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One thought on “Bride and Prejudice (2004)

  1. I love this movie! Kind of cheesy, granted, but totally awesome. A new take on a classic tale. And did I mention catchy tunes? I get ‘No Life Without Wife’ stuck in my head at the weirdest times.

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