Movie Review by Lisa Henshall
Starring: Aishwarya Rai, Martin Henderson, Naveen Andrews, Indira Varma
Director: Gurinder Chadha
I freely admit I am part of a very small clique of westerners who adore Indian movies!! Indeed, I fear the patience of my friends and colleagues is wearing thin, as I continue on my quest to push my embarrassingly large collection of Shahrukh Khan films onto every passing stranger. But now I see a light at the end of the tunnel – an exuberant, colourful, heavily spiced, light that encompasses all that I love about ‘Bollywood’ with that quintessential of British novels about love and status. You could be forgiven for missing the link between Jane Austen and modern day India, but it really is a perfect fit and BRIDE & PREJUDICE is that love child.
Seamlessly bridging the gap between Eastern and Western cinema, BRIDE & PREJUDICE is a delightful film that leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy inside – a romantic, dramatic, comedic feel-good Indian movie that follows almost to a tee Austen’s story, with the perfect level of western influences to keep the international audiences happy. Set mostly in Amritsar, in Northern India, we flit to West London and Los Angeles later in the movie and then back to the Punjab. Everyone speaks English, so there are no subtitles to contend with if this would normally put you off. The song and dance numbers are beautifully choreographed although the Indian numbers do stand out as more catchy and memorable than the western-influenced numbers (which are a little limp in places).
The lead actors are excellent sparring partners: Martin Henderson (THE RING) is handsome and smooth but with the right gravitas for the arrogant American hotelier Will Darcy. Ex-Miss India, Aishwarya Rai, is exquisitely beautiful but feisty as Lalita and this could be the role that catapults her towards an international film career. There are also wonderful supporting performances from Anupam Kher as Lalita’s weary father determined not to let his interfering wife (an outrageous Nadira Babar) get in the way of his daughter’s happiness, and Nitrin Ganatra as the slimy Mr Kholi from LA (come to woo Lalita and her sisters) who injects some absurd comedy at just the right time. In fact the vision of him and his ‘Austin Powers’ style bedroom moves is enough to put a smile on my face even now.
Do go and see this film and embrace your inner Bollywood King or Queen….
…and did I mention I have some Shahrukh Khan DVDs if your interested!