mellicious: pink manicure (lips)
[personal profile] mellicious
This is kind of crazy, but I watched Bride and Prejudice again this morning and I TOOK NOTES. Can you believe it? But hey, I'm interested in how they fit the Jane Austen story into the Indian setting and, well, I just like it. So y'all are going to get some sort of transcription of my notes as an entry today. It won't be very organized, probably, but then when am I ever?

This is my second time watching this movie - I first watched it a month or so ago. I also watched part of the commentary - I think they said that the building they show at the beginning is the Golden Temple. And the town is Amritsar, which I'd really never heard of. Sounds like it's a good-sized city, too.
-- Shots of Lalita in the fields are very Jane Austen to me. If you've watched a lot of Austen adaptations they often do something like this (except without the tractor)
-- "Bedlam" says Darcy (of Amritsar); Raj compares it to New York

OK, the family - you first see their house, which is big but kind of run-down.
"All mothers think that any single guy with big bucks must be shopping for a wife."
Here's the name translations:
Bennett = Bakshi
Lizzy = Lalita
Jane = Jaya
Mary = Maya
Lydia = Lahki ("Papa, just chill," she says. But not in an unkind way.)
And Kitty gets shafted, as usual.

(In fact, regarding Lahki - and I'll come back to this, probably - I think many of the characters are nicer people than in the book. Lahki is a flirt, but not a total idiot as in the book.)

Then at the wedding we get:
Bingley = Balraj - a barrister
Caroline Bingley = Kiran
Darcy's name is unchanged, except that they drop "Fitzwilliam" to just William (or occasionally just Will). Owns hotels.

Most of the first dance sequence mirrors the Meryton ball in the book, although many details are different, of course. I love the pallette in this number and also the next one in the street - bright pastels. Here, mostly pink and orange, although the bride wears pale lime green. We do get Mrs Bakshi making an exhibition of herself (I'm going to say Mr & Mrs B to save time hereafter) and also Lakhi chasing boys. Song is in Punjabi? Kiran gives a partial translation to Darcy. Also, I love Raj's dance.

In the commentary, they say that the wedding scenes were filmed at a hall in England. The financing required that 70% of the movie be filmed in England. (But the big street number was filmed on a set they built in Bombay.)

The friend who's getting married doesn't have a P&P equivalent, and it took me a while to figure out that the other girl with them in the street shopping scene is Chandra aka Charlotte Lucas. Also, I really love the staging of this number.
"Marriage has come to town
Laughter, color, light and sound,
Life is great, let's celebrate
The sacred union two souls have found."

At wedding ceremony (later same day, presumably), Darcy & Lalita argue about standards, arranged marriages, she accuses him of thinking Indian women are simple. Generally, I'd say that Darcy is much more laid back (as befits an American) and Lalita somewhat more combative than in the book. They seem more equal from the beginning, really.

Raj invites Jaya to Goa (where Darcy is looking at a hotel) - Lalita goes along as a sort of chaperone, I guess! Seems to more or less take the place of the sequence where Jane stays with the Bingleys and Lizzy visits.
Mrs B: "And he gets to see her in a swimsuit!"

Darcy mentions his "little sister Georgie" (her name seems to be Georgina rather than Georgiana.)
At poolside in Goa, they discuss accomplishments. Kiran says that Darcy said (at Oxford, when drunk) that a woman must be athletic, voluptuous, graceful, witty, and confident. Lalita enumerates men's faults: arrogance, pride. (Kiran, in the middle, looks back and forth as they argue like she's at a tennis match.)

Kiran/Caroline is also treated somewhat more nicely - she's a bit bitchy and spoiled but nothing like Caroline (and Mrs Hurst) in the book. There is also only the subtlest of hints that she is supposed to be wildly in love with Darcy. There was a deleted scene where she primped when she knew he was coming, but nothing that blatant made it into the movie.

After dark, with Lalita playing the guitar, Johnny Wickham rises from the ocean in a manner reminiscent of Ursula Andress (although this may be because I just watched Dr No the other night). (Also, while Daniel Gillies has abs to die for, I don't actually think he's all that good-looking otherwise.) W's mother was Darcy's nanny, and W himself "caddied" for old Mr Darcy, he tells Lalita.

Kind of out of nowhere, we get Ashanti as a performer at this outdoor "rave"-type party. She looks very beautiful, though. Her song is in English AND Punjabi, I think. (According to the commentary, it's a Bollywood tradition to have a "guest star" who does a number like this.)

When they return, Mr Kholi is expected. An accountant instead of the clergyman in the book, lives in LA. (I think accountant now might be pretty equivalent status-wise to clergyman 200 years ago, actually.)
"No life without wife" he says - which becomes the next musical number. 4 girls in white pajamas. Scenes of Lalita's imaginary life in LA with Kholi ("Kholiwood" sign in background is funny.)

Lalita's dream - England and Wickham, who turns into Darcy (and almost kisses her but not quite, which happens a lot in this movie)
The director says in the commentary that (1) the English village is the one from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and (2) as originally written, this also had an Americana bit with Darcy, but it wasn't filmed.

Lakhi starts flirting with Wickham immediately. W. is invited to the dance ("never enough boys at the dance," says Lahki). The dance with the sticks (Garba?) is apparently traditional, and I think takes the place well of Austen's country dances. The events of the Netherfield ball seem to be divided between here and the upcoming dinner party. Kholi dances badly. Lalita dances with Darcy - "everyone loves Wickham" says D. Lalita tells Darcy she can't figure him out, which is from earlier in the book, I believe.

Darcy, Raj & Kiran have dinner w/Bakshis. Wickham is not invited - Lakhi is taking him out to see the sights. Maya's cobra dance (which is hilarious) takes the place of her playing the piano in the book. Mrs B basically says all the things straight out to Darcy and Raj that she's overheard saying in the book - about Jaya making a good marriage and so on.

(About Maya - I think she's really too pretty for my conception of Mary, although I guess she's not quite beautiful to the degree of the other girls, so she might suffer by comparison. They don't bother to have her moralize much like in the book, either.)

Kholi's proposal - keeps talking about living in "Amrika". Kholi is not so obnoxious about it as Mr Collins, although he does leave immediately in a (very comical) huff when turned down. Unlike in the book, Raj comes to tell Jaya that he's leaving (and kisses her on the forehead - I am keeping track of the kiss issue). Lakhi arrives with the news that Kholi has proposed to Chandra and been accepted, then Wickham tells Lalita that he's leaving. All these things happen almost back-to-back, which makes this very much the emotional low point of the movie. Lalita has a very wistful song - "Take me to love" (I am unclear about whether that's actually her singing - it appeared in the credits to say it was somebody else.)

e-mails (Is Lahki intercepting e-mails from W to Lalita?) - Mrs B is looking at a matchmaking website

Kholi & Chandra call with the news that they are sending 4 tickets to their LA wedding. Mrs B, Lalita, Jaya and Lahki go. (There's no discussion of how this is decided.) They stop off in London and go to see the Bingleys at their house in Windsor, in view of the royal palace. Only Kiran is there, Raj is in NY. Lahki goes to see Wickham (who is living on a houseboat) while they are doing this.

Then Darcy turns up on the flight to LA. He puts Mrs B in his first-class seat, but then pisses off Lalita again by warning her against W. - which is pretty officious of him, I think, considering she has already told him she hasn't heard from W lately.

In LA, we hear a rap song: "Must be the money". Kholi lives in the most boring of suburbs, but he shows them around like it's a palace. Says that Chandra has 51 wedding suits. (Chandra's mother is hovering around - they showed her earlier and I didn't realize that that was who she was supposed to be. I think this same woman may have been in Bend it Like Beckham, she looks very familiar.) Chandra is not as unhappy as Charlotte is in the book - "he's kind and he adores me," she says - and Lalita apologizes for being judgmental, which is certainly not something Elizabeth ever does.

At the hotel in LA (I believe they said the interior is actually LA but the exterior is England, which is the opposite of what you'd expect) we meet Mrs Darcy, who takes the place of Lady Catherine - so mother instead of aunt - and also his sister. Lalita argues with Mrs D, which seems to impress Darcy greatly. He calls and asks her out and takes her to a Mexican restaurant, not the fancy place she expected (she is clearly pleasantly surprised about this). Then we get a reprise of "Take me to love" over scenes of them doing romantic things - frolicking in a fountain, a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. On the beach - with a gospel choir standing there singing the song. (Kinda over the top but it works.)

At the wedding, Mrs D turns up with "Darcy's girlfriend" who is named Anne. Darcy is clearly uninterested in her. ("Lolita - like the movie?" she says.) Georgie tells L how Will talked Raj out of marrying a girl in India (she doesn't know it's Jaya who's the girl, of course). She says that Raj is mad at Darcy. Immediately after this, Darcy proposes, which makes Lalita's anger make a whole lot of sense.

Later, D comes looking for her at Kholi's house, but they've left for London already. In London, Lahki goes "shopping" but really goes to see Wickham, and leaves a note which they find later. Darcy follows them to London and reveals that W. got Georgie pregnant at 16, and tried to marry her for the money. L&D track Lakhi & W down, there is a fight in the movie theater, which mirrors the fight in the Indian movie being shown on the screen. Lalita slaps W, and so does Lahki after W says "Lalita, it was always you." (And re Darcy, he says to L, "Anyone, not him!") When they return back to the house, Raj is there and has already proposed. Fast work.

(So really, the only real bad guy in the movie is Wickham. Well, and Mrs Darcy is definitely a bitch. Lakhi is just very young, and isn't punished here by having to marry Wickham, at least!)

Back to the Bakshi house (where the movie started), now decorated for a wedding. We see Jaya meeting Raj's parents, in a long shot. Kiran tells Lalita where to look for Darcy, although she doesn't look very happy about it. He is playing drums, I guess to show that he's loosened up a bit and perhaps also that he is willing to fit more into Indian life than he was before. And apparently it gets turned into a double wedding (although that seems like awfully fast work to me!) and the happy couples ride off on elephants at the end. (But there's still no kissing.)

Deleted scenes/extended versions of songs
- Mrs D offers Lalita money if she promises not to marry Darcy (I guess this would fit in after the wedding scene)
- The original beginning, which goes straight into the street scene and almost feels like an operetta - I think I would have found it jarring.
- Raj, Darcy and Kiran at food stands in market
- yoga session (in Goa?) - Darcy on the phone
- Darcy goes to Bingley's house (in Windsor, I think) and apologizes
(Most of the extended songs aren't very different, that I noticed.)

Cast (copied off the end credits)
Aishwarya Raj - Lalita (I had no idea that she was such a big star when I first saw this)
Martin Henderson - Darcy
Nadira Babbar - Mrs B
Anupam Kher - Mr B (wasn't he the father in Beckham?)
Naveen Andrews - Raj
Namrata Shirodhkar - Jaya
Daniel Gillies - Wickham
Indira Varma - Kiran (I have watched both Torchwood and Rome lately, so she seems to me to be everywhere)
Sonali Kulkarni - Chandra
Nitin Ganatra - Kholi
Meghnaa Chodhuri (?) - Maya
Peeya Rai Chodhuri - Lahki
Alexis Bleidel - Georgie
Marsha Mason - Mrs Darcy

Date: 2008-12-31 07:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Have you seen "I Have Found It"? There's just an English-subtitled version that I've been able to find, but it's Sense & Sensibility as a Bollywood musical. I thought it actually worked even better than Bride & Prejudice. Oh! Here it is! Kandukondain Kandukondain, and it stars Aishwarya Rai.

Date: 2009-01-01 02:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ooh, thanks! That's going on the wish list, for sure.


mellicious: pink manicure (Default)

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