Watch Bride and Prejudice

"Bollywood meets Hollywood... And it's a perfect match"

While film adaptations of Jane Austen's novels are everywhere these days, not many adaptations can boast of as much creativity and fun as the 2004 film Bride and Prejudice directed by Gurinder Chadha. This Bollywood version of the classic Pride and Prejudice translates the early 19th century British tale to contemporary India. It also throws singing and dancing into the bargain.

The five Bennet sisters have been transformed into the Bakshi girls, with well-known Indian actress Aishwarya Rai starring as Lalita Bakshi, the equivalent of the novel's main character Elizabeth Bennet. Nadira Babbar plays Mrs. Bakshi, the zestful, energetic mother who wants nothing more than to see her five daughters wed successfully.

The lovely Namrata Shirodkar plays the serene elder sister Jaya, whose hopes for matrimony center around the affable Mr. Balraj. Naveen Adrews, of LOST television fame, plays Balraj, and it's a pleasure to see him in a singing and dancing role. His charm is in stark contrast to that of his friend, the socially awkward but handsome and successful American named Will Darcy played by Martin Henderson.

As Lalita and Will clash but eventually discover their mutual attraction, the film plays with cultural expectations and tensions. The cultural differences virtually replace the social class and economic distinctions of the original story, creating similar obstacles for the characters to overcome. Will definitely comes across as a stereotypical "ugly" American, but the requisite happy ending provides him a chance to change.

While the interpretation of the story into such a different culture and tone provides challenges for the filmmakers, they mostly meet those challenges with a happy confidence. Viewers can go along for the ride, enjoying the humor of characters like Mr. Kholi (Nitin Gantra), a would-be suitor for Lalita, and the creativity of songs like "No Life Without Wife."

Bride and Prejudice was released first in the UK. It did well at the box office, recouping its relatively modest budget, and was nominated for production and costume efforts by the British Independent Film Awards.

| 2004 | 1 hr 51 min | 6.2/10
Bride and Prejudice
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