Film / Bride and Prejudice

Quick-witted Lalita Bakshi is the second daughter in a family living in Amritsar, India. Her father dotes on her but her mother is determined to marry Lalita and her three sisters (Jaya, Maya, and Lakhi) off to respectable wealthy men. Her mother's fortune seems to look up, however, when the handsome and wealthy lawyer Balraj comes to town on the eve of a big wedding, his conceited sister Kiran and businessman best friend Will Darcy in tow. Jaya and Balraj seem perfect for each other, but Lalita finds Darcy arrogant and intolerant of Indian culture.

Sound familiar?

Bride and Prejudice is a 2004 film directed by Gurinder Chadha (who also directed Bend It Like Beckham), which gives Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice a Setting Update — to modern-day India. Events roughly parallel that of the novel, but punctuated with discussions of culture and gender, as well as several Bollywood dance numbers. The film stars Aishwarya Rai (Elizabeth/Lalita) and Martin Henderson (Darcy), as well as a host of other familiar faces.

Provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Name Change: Everyone. The majority of the cast is given Indian names similar to the original — for example, Elizabeth is Lalita, Jane is Jaya, Caroline is Kiran, Mr. Collins is Mr. Kholi, Charlotte is Chandra, and so on. The exception is Fitzwilliam Darcy, who's renamed to Will Darcy.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Mr Kholi is still pompous and foolish, but he's also kind and grows to adore Chandra. The director specifically stated on the DVD commentary that she didn't want to depict the pair of them in a loveless marriage.
    • Mrs Bakshi is softened compared to Mrs Bennett. She's shown to be pompous but still good-natured - with a Pet the Dog moment here and there.
    • Kiran is also much nicer than her literary counterpart. In contrast to Caroline's snobbish attitude at the party, Kiran is shown sincerely enjoying herself. She's nice enough to the other women, and in Wickham's first scene she's seen giving him a cold look - implying she definitely does not approve of his behaviour with Darcy's sister.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Minor example. Darcy in the book offends Elizabeth when she overhears him saying she's "not handsome enough to tempt me" and he's merely a little aloof at the party. Here he displays some obvious White Man's Burden attitudes and says some rude things about her culture to her face.
    • Wickham's indiscretion with Darcy's sister is far more severe. In the book he ran off with her and tried to get her to marry him. Here he actually got her pregnant.
  • All Musicals Are Adaptations: Pride and Prejudice with a Bollywood twist. What's not to like?
  • Arch-Enemy: Darcy and Wickham, as in the original; Darcy despises him for what he did to Georgiana.
  • Arranged Marriage: We see the wedding of such a couple early in the movie. Also, Catherine has hopes of arranging her son's marriage to American businesswoman Anne.
  • Beta Couple: Jaya and Balraj fall in love with far less pomp and circumstance than Lalita and Darcy, fittingly for the Jane and Bingley analogues.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Darcy's mom is not nice. Anne also acts rather unpleasant, simultaneously mispronouncing Lalita's name and comparing it with a certain 1997 movie (although, bizarrely, not the 1958 novel).
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Lalita's younger sisters Maya and Lakhi.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Balraj and Kiran (the characters based on the Bingleys) were raised in England.
  • The Cameo: Ashanti appearing as herself, singing one of the songs.
  • The Casanova: Wickham.
  • Composite Character:
    • The younger sisters Maya and Lakhi replace the three younger sisters of the original.
    • Kiran Balraj here stands in for both of Bingley's sisters from the original.
  • Crowd Song: More than one, but When Marriage Comes To Town is amazing.
  • Culture Clash: Hmmm an American and a girl from India, what could possibly go wrong?
  • Daddy's Girl: Lalita and her father are the best of friends.
  • Distant Duet: Lalita and William Darcy have one that was cut from the movie.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: The wedding outfits at the end are pretty grand, and Lalita wears a western style one in an Imagine Spot.
  • Falling in Love Montage: All of that happened in one night?
  • Fate Drives Us Together
  • Foregone Conclusion: Anyone who's read or seen Pride and Prejudice probably has a pretty good guess who Lalita's going to end up with.
  • Giftedly Bad: The Cobra Dance is kind of astonishing in a not good way.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: At the end of the film, with drums.
  • I Want Grandkids: This is the concern of the girls' mother Manorama Bakshi.
  • Karma Houdini: An aversion compared to what happened in the book. Wickham gets slapped hard by both Lalita and Lakhi.
  • Marry for Love: Lalita wishes this over an arranged marriage.
  • Relationship Sabotage:
    • Balraj's sister Kiran doesn't really like Jaya or Lalita.
    • Darcy also does this, as per the book.
  • Rule of Funny: Darcy and Wickham have a fight in front of an old Hindi movie, that, despite them not even paying attention to the movie, matches the fight scene shot for shot.
  • Setting Update: The movie takes place in India, England and California.
  • Smitten Teenage Girl: Running off with an older man may sound romantic...
  • Spontaneous Choreography: Especially "When Marriage Comes To Town".