On Pride and Prejudice

Bride and Prejudice

By Laura Resnick

“All mothers think that any single guy with big bucks must be shopping for a wife.”

This line of dialogue, spoken with good-natured exasperation in the opening scene of the 2004 film Bride and Prejudice: The Bollywood Musical, closely echoes, of course, the famous opening line of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

Bride and Prejudice is an Indian film directed, cowritten and coproduced by Gurinder Chadha, who previously directed the delightful British film Bend It Like Beckham, about an Anglo-Indian girl in London who defies the traditional values of her immigrant family by playing soccer. Adapted from Jane Austen’s still-compelling two-hundred-year-old novel, Bride and Prejudice transports the story across time and space to set it in twenty-first-century India, England and the United States.

A rather unusual feature of Bride and Prejudice is that, although it is in many ways a traditional Bollywood movie, it’s filmed entirely in English. This is an attempt to make this Austen-based tale even more accessible to Western audiences–and particularly to American audiences. The Bombay movie industry makes no secret of its desire to develop a larger audience in the United States. Bride and Prejudice is not the first recent Bollywood film to be set partly in the U.S. (indeed, the immensely successful 2003 film Kal Ho Naa Ho was set entirely in New York City), but it is rare (perhaps unprecedented) for a  …

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