Analysis of the Book

In Jane Austen’s 19th century novel is written as a satire and criticism of the 19th century marriage contracts of different classes. The atmosphere that marriage created was that of a market, in which wives were traded, essentially, for possessions and husbands claimed in order for the woman to claim more possessions. Intertwined in the marriage criticism is the romantic love story, specifically that between Darcy and Lizzie, which defies the marriage norms in which marriage is created to establish class and possessions. Austen discusses the theme of 19th century coverture, or possession of the woman, in marriage through the mother’s anxiety to marry off her daughters for them to find wealth and escape poverty, only to become property.

Analysis of Movie:

Director Chadha uses the backdrop of India and the musical romantic story style in order to create a film of the battle of the cultures, mostly in terms of marriage. Using the clash of cultures, American, British, and Indian, Chadha demystifies the notion of arranged marriages and shows the flip side of arranged marriages as viewed by the Indians and Americans. The film also shows how Indians who have moved to America, which is where everyone in India seems to want to go except Lalita, view Indians in their home country, specifically regarding marriage and women. Lalita stands as the rejection of the traditional roles of women in marriages and Kholi and her mother stand as the proponents of the shy, softspoken, “marriagable” properties  that women should be.

ANalysis of Adaptation

By recreating the story to fit that of modern day India and America, two countries that seem to have polarized marriage traditions and life styles, Chadha successfully  stays true to the message that Austen presented, which is that of a criticism on a marriage in which the woman becomes chosen, and essentially the man’s property and choice. Though the Mrs. Bakshi represents exactly that, the giving away of women in marriage, Kiran is the version of Lalita if Lalita were snootier and the opposite of Mrs. Bakshi. She represents the woman’s freedom and choice, in her way of dressing (more revealing than Lalita) and in her speech (swear words). She and her brother are both in the gentry class, and are Indian, but reject the Indian traditions when they are back in India. The element of satire and comedy in Pride and Prejudice is in Mr. Kholi, who embodies what the Indian mothers want for their daughters, which is to adopt in to the American society. Though Mrs. Bakshi already lives in a gigantic house, shown in the movie, she still complains about it and wants to move to Hollywood. The musical aspect of the movie makes the story more enjoyable. The book itself is a bit long and probably not so enjoyable to modern day audiences, but with the use of musicals and sing alongs and dances moves, basically things that are aesthetically pleasing, audiences and viewers will be more willing to watch.

Online research:

1.)

http://www.mixedreviews.net/extrahelpings/2005/brideprejudice/brideprejudice.shtml

In this dialogue between Jill Cozzi and Gabriel Shanks, the two discuss how the film by Chandra was not so good because of its limbo between Bollywood and Hollywood, and how CHandra in not of “Bollywood culture” so is unable to bring forth that part. The argument is that the actors are not so good, but also that the film is Bollywood made to be adaptable to the American palette. Their main concern was the singing, which was set in India and incorporated Indian dance but was sung in English, and the political aspect of the movie, in which Chadra seems to project her own political views and advertisement of India being better than America on the character of Lalita. Though it was an attempt and was meant to be a movie showing the merging of cultures, Cozzi and Shanks believe that the movie was not as enjoyable to the American audience or Bollywood as intended.

2. ) http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050210/REVIEWS/502100302/1023

Egbert in this article denounces Bride and Prejudice as Bollywood and classifies it as Hollywood musical comedy inspired and including Bollywood elements, due to its Austen inspired storyline.

3.) http://movies.about.com/od/brideandprejudice/a/bridemh020905.htm

Henderson discusses the appeal of the movie to AMerican audiences and says that it is the upbeat attitude that will draw American viewers in.

Critical Analysis:

Is Bride and Prejudice too entertaining? How does the “feel good” nature of the film distract audiences from more critical issues presented by the film? Or are those critical issues missing? If so, why is this important?

The feel good nature of the film was necessary to lure viewers in to the films more serious moments and to let audiences release and purge their emotions before the scene in which Lakhi gets tricked by Wickham. The critical issues presented by Austen in the original novel, that of marriage and wives as property, are still preserved and presented well to the audience because of the musical and upbeat atmosphere the film provides. The dialogue becomes more engaging and interesting with the upbeat atmosphere, and the fights between the lovers and struggling lovers weigh less on viewers, which lets them step aside and view the dialogue from a distance and analyze it better.

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