Saturday, August 29, 2015
Bride & Prejudice (live action movie), via Netflix
This movie was recommended to me a while back by a coworker, so I was excited when it popped up on Netflix. It looked cute and fluffy, so I decided to give it a try.
This was actually a fairly nice blend of Pride and Prejudice and Indian family issues. I was able to recognize who almost everyone was, well before events in the movie made it obvious. Mrs. Bennet translated well as an Indian mother obsessed with her daughters' marriage prospects. Darcy was re-imagined as a wealthy American who looked down his nose at India and Indian culture, and Elizabeth was re-imagined as a young Indian woman who was proud of her country and culture. I'm not a huge Jane Austen fan, but I remembered the original story enough to worry about Lakhi (a re-imagined Lydia Bennet), and I was glad that that was one of the areas where the story was tweaked a little.
Unfortunately, this movie didn't work nearly as well for me as I had expected it would. William Darcy was incredibly bland, and his early comments about India made me grit my teeth. He won Lalita (Elizabeth) over more easily than he did me. Even then, he and Lalita didn't really have much chemistry – while her annoyance with him was plain, her gradual attraction was less so.
As far as the song and dance numbers went, I was somewhat disappointed. Some of them were fine, but others came across as incredibly cheesy or just plain awful. I actually had to pause the movie and take a break when the incredibly bad “No Life Without Wife” bit came up. As the movie progressed, I also became more and more aware of the fact that Martin Henderson, the guy who played Darcy, wasn't singing. The song that played when he and Lalita went out on a few dates featured her voice (and, weirdly enough, a gospel choir), but Darcy was just there.
All in all, I expected more from this movie than I got, and I cringe a little at the thought that this gets recommended to people as “a good Bollywood movie.” If you want a good cross-cultural romance, the director's Bend It Like Beckham is much better. If you want a fun Bollywood movie, maybe try Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (my favorite so far), Jab We Met, or Jaane Tu...Ya Jaane Na.