Bride & Prejudice
Bride & Prejudice is a Hindi movie where everybody speaks in English. And that didn’t work for me. Most movies are fantasies and require suspension of disbelief. But I just couldn’t get over that one big, basic incongruity in this one and as a result, didn’t enjoy it. On the other hand, my wife did get over it and thought it was a good film. So just one thumb up for this one :-)
I have not read Pride and Prejudice nor seen earlier movie adaptations and so can’t comment on the similarity of the story. Aishwarya plays one of three sisters here. Her older sister Namrata Shirodkar is in love with Naveen Andrews, who lives in England. Naveen has come down to attend the wedding of a friend and with him is Martin Henderson, an American. Aish and Martin feel an attraction but he rubs her the wrong way with his comments about India. So she gravitates towards another American while her mom tries to fix up her marriage with a NRP(Non-resident Punjabi).
The film is a bundle of contradictions. It has a Punjabi family having day-to-day conversations in English. It has the sisters singing an English song while teasing Aishwarya. I understand that this is necessary since it is an international film but that didn’t make it any less weird for me. I was turned off in the first scene where Anupham Kher and Aishwarya talk in English in the middle of a field. And I was never turned back on! And then there are the contradictions in characters like the old-fashioned mom agreeing to send her daughters off to Goa with a couple of guys.
The movie is visually very appealing. It is bright and colorful throughout and has some nice locations and scenic shots. The song sequences are vibrant and energetic though the songs themselves weren’t too appealing. The lyrics were too simplistic and sounded like everyday conversations rather than poetry. It was almost like they were composed in Hindi and literally translated to English.
The film has all characteristics of a Hindi chick-flick. There are stereotypical characters like the mother whose only aim is to see her daughters married, the father who is on his daughters’ side, the idiot suitor, etc. All these are caricatures rather than characters and exhibit extreme characteristics. There are artificial conflicts between the pairs (there’s more than one). And worst of all, the techniques used to create/extend these conflicts are lame and artificial and involves people not talking or saying something important even when its perfectly clear that they should.
Aish looks good as expected but just doesn’t come off as a natural actress. She is too stiff and her expressions, body language, etc. all look completely tutored. Namrata is more believable whether she is happy about her love or sad about the breakup. Martin Henderson is adequate but Naveen Andrews is quite convincing as the NRI. Naveen and Namrata make a more believable and likeable pair that Martin and Aish. The guy acting as Aish’s suitor is quite funny.