Bride & Prejudice (2004)
1. Analysis of the Book. Pride and Prejudice is a classic nineteenth century English novel written by Jane Austin in 1813. The title immediately informs the reader of the theme of the book, and is derived from the fact that the main character, Elizabeth, needs to overcome her own prejudices, and the protagonist, Darcy, needs to overcome his own pride before the two can fall in love. The book follows their tumultuous journey to romance. In addition to following the romance of Elizabeth and Darcy, the reader is given an insight into the lifestyle, values, culture, etc. of the landed aristocracy in nineteenth century England.
2. Analysis of the Film. The film is a twentieth century take on the nineteenth century book by Jane Austin. Additionally, it is an attempt to create a Bollywood-esque version of the story set in modern day India. It is a multicultural concept for which Gurinder Chadha, the director, is well known (She previously directed Bend It Like Beckham). The film uses some very lavish sets, costumes and musical scenes to reproduce the Bollywood movie experience.
3. Analysis of the Adaptation. In some ways the film is a difficult project to undertake. The task of adapting a nineteenth century novel to the twenty first century can present challenges, but the additional challenge of reinterpreting it as a Bollywood musical offers an entire realm of new issues. Chadha rises to the challenge of creating a Bollywood rendition by incorporating a number of musical numbers and well choreographed dance routines. Additionally, she adds a number of unanticipated musical elements such as a gospel choir and Ashanti to produce a multicultural film which combines a number of different cultural styles.
4. Online Research of the Film. The three online sources I found in relation to Bride & Prejudice include a discussion of the movie: http://www.scribd.com/doc/15261296/Film-Analysis-Bride-and-Prejudice which involves a fairly comprehensive analysis of themes and film elements. It’s not a film review, but a film analysis which breaks down several elements of the movie. Additionally it offers considerable insight and perspective from an everyday point of view. Additionally, http://www.aproposofanything.com/2005/03/01/bride-and-prejudice-a-classic-case-of-oh-honey-no/ is a blog entry commenting on various parallels, or lack thereof, between it and Bollywood. http://mvelab1.livejournal.com/3596.html offers the perspective of another guy, in another English class, doing the same thing I am.
5. Critical Analysis. Girender Chadha brings across several important elements from Pride & Prejudice, but also omits certain elements to create a unique interpretation which provides its own meaning and sense of purpose different from the book. Chadha incorporates the original plot into her film, and also conveys some of the Austen’s emphasis on family upbringing: Chandra gives the audience a fairly thorough understanding of the family background of both the main character (Lalitta) and the protagonist (Darcy). Yet, unlike the original novel, the emphasis is not centered as much on the Pride element of Pride & Prejudice as evidenced by the change in the title, and shifts its focus to marriage and prejudice. Additionally, Chadha’s film focuses more heavily on themes such as listening to your heart, a de-emphasis on the importance of material goods (Lalitta refuses to marry Koinor), and evaluates aspects of the institution of marriage in India. Furthermore, the film version does not offer the same insight into the 19th century English landed gentry. The importance of these acts of commission and omission is that it creates a film with a very different message and theme. Chadha’s film is not just a remake of Pride and Prejudice, but instead offers a number of insights and messages that are not necessarily present in the original P&P. It shifts its focus.