Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Groovy Jane Austen?

With few exceptions, my hubby and I have a nightly routine. Once our work for the day is complete, we settle down with chips and salsa at the ready and watch a movie. Some movies are just for fun, while others are thought provoking. One of our recent movies just made me want to sing and dance. Who knew Jane Austen could be so hip?

Bollywood's Bride & Prejudice takes Ms. Austen's Pride & Prejudice and sets it in the 21st century. The hero is an American businessman, the heroine a proud daughter of India. The movie tells the classic story while utilizing the conventions of Indian movie-making, one of which is lively musical numbers. Mumbai, formerly Bombay (hence B-ollywood), has a thriving movie industry. Bride & Prejudice is directed by Gurinda Chadha of Bend It Like Beckham fame.

The movie might not be a favorite with Austen purists. The book's class conflict becomes a cultural conflict in this retelling and the "meeting in the middle" of Austen's book is missing. Then there is the obligatory accusation leveled at the American businessman of being an imperialist. What may really set the purist's head to spinning, however, is seeing Lalita, the film's Elizabeth Bennett, doing the twist while singing a do-wop number with her sisters! [My hubby said of that song, “This reminds me of Grease” and on the special features we learned the number was indeed inspired by that movie!] After watching this song, I dare you not to sing, “No life, without wife!”

The movie has a feel of musical theatre. In the intro, you’ll hear snippets of all the songs featured in the movie. The love theme, Take Me To Love, weaves through the entire soundtrack. The choreography is playful, almost whimsical. Whether you're an Austen fan or not, give this movie a chance! This is a clean movie. Bollywood films are traditional and this movie is almost straitlaced. I can’t remember a kiss in the movie, much less anything more. I bet even Ms. Austen would approve.

[For the purists among us, check out Miniatures and Morals: The Christian Novels of Jane Austen by Peter Leithart. Read about it here.]

1 comment:

guinever said...

I can't wait to watch it!