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Bride and Prejudice | Movie Review

Bride and Prejudice, a Bollywood version by director Gurinder Chaddha of the novel “Pride and Prejudice” was released in 2004 with featuring the leading pair of Aishwarya Rai and Martin Henderson. The movie was released in India in its Hindi version called “Balle Balle, Amritsar to LA”. The screenplay by Chaddha and Paul Mayeda Berges follows the story line of the novel more or less, accompanied by Bollywood style songs and dances. Names of the main characters are altered with the names in local dialects with similar pronunciation, e.g. Lizzy becomes Lalita, Bingley becomes Balraj, Chandra for Charllotte, Lakhi for Lydia, Bakshi for Bennets and so on.

Movie : Bride and Prejudice
Director : Gurinder Chadha
Starring : Aishwarya Rai, Martin Henderson, Nadira Babbar, Anupam Kher, Naveen Andrews, Namrata Shirodkar,Sonali Kulkarni

The story is set in Amritsar where Lalita Bakshi (Aishwarya) lives with her doting father, helping him running the family farming enterprise; her mother, who is determined to marry off her daughters to respectable and wealthy men; and her three sisters, Jaya, Maya, and Lakhi. At a friend’s wedding, Jaya and Lalita meets Balraj, a barrister from London and his handsome and wealthy but not-so-social American friend Will Darcy who owns a chain of hotels.

Like the novel, Jaya and Balraj falls in love. But Darcy resists his attraction to Lalita, who considers him conceited, arrogant, and intolerant toward India and Indian culture. Darcy and his friends are equally shocked and repulsed by the mindless behaviour of Mrs. Bakshi and her younger daughters. Jaya and Lalita accompanies Darcy and his friends to Goa where they are joined by Wickham who soon befriends Lalita. Later he comes to Amritsar and stays with the Bakshi family, all the while strengthening Lalita’s low opinion for Darcy with his stories. Mr Kholi, a rich, clumsy, and ostentatious NRI proposes to Lalita; is rejected by her and decides to marry her best friend Chandra instead.

Though Lalita and Chandra are little estranged by her decision to marry Kholi, she invites Lalita, her mother, Jaya and Lakhi to LA for her wedding. On the way, they meet Darcy again. It is in LA that Lalita and Darcy spend time togather and start liking each other. But soon like novel, they part ways under the strain of Darcy’s mother’s pointed dislike for Lalita and Lalita’s misunderstandings about Darcy’s behavior towards Balraj and Wickham.

The movie departs from the novel at some points as it skips over many events to fit the entire love story in the time frame of 2 hours and picks up a fast pace, especially in the last half an hour. But, finally all the misunderstandings are solved and the couples are joined in the marital bliss.

The starcast comprises of many of the well-known actors from Bollywood as well as overseas, but there is not much scope in the script for them. Exept for the lead pair, most of them are on screen for very less time, appearing in just a few scenes. Nadira Babbar delivers a remarkable performance as Mrs. Bakshi. The colourful Indian culture is displayed throughout the movie and the great Indian wedding also gets its share on screen. The music is really good, especially “Tumse kahe ya ham na kahe” in Hindi or “Show me the way…” in English.

A lovely romantic comedy (or RomCom as what it is said these days!) worth watching…..

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