Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Cultural Pleasure

While I was sick we rented a few movies to watch. One of them I got just because I love Jane Austin books and movies, even though I thought it was going to be stupid. So, with extremely low expectations I put the movie into the DVD player. Dave refused to watch it; waiting for my critique of it.

It sounded so stupid. Why did they title it the way they did? I’m not sure how well it did in the theaters but I doubt it was good just because the title was so awful. Do I have you curious? Another thing, I didn’t recognize the actors and I thought it was some hip-hop teenybopper film. I had NO IDEA.

The movie? Bride & Prejudice starring Martin Henderson and Aishwarya Rai. Have you ever heard of Bollywood? I sure hadn’t! It is the Indian version of Hollywood only it has a totally different flavor, very much like the spicy India itself.

What a wonderful surprise I had! The color! The outfits! The songs! The dances! The humor! I had so misjudged this film. Anyway, let me tell you a little about it…some of these things I discovered after watching it again and again. (I never want to return it!)

It starts off in India where a pre-arranged wedding party is celebrating the engagement of one of Lalita (Lizzie character) and Jaya’s (Jane’s character) best friends. An American (Darcy) is best friends with the best man (Bingley’s character now called Balraj who is a British Indian) and comes with Balraj and Balraj’s sister to India for the wedding.

The plot is very much the same as Pride and Prejudice but it has some hilarious differences as well as the wonder of cultural differences.

Instead of Darcy being a pompous jerk, he is ‘stand-offish’ to Lalita because his Indian outfit’s pants keep falling down and he needs to leave and fix them. (During his initial dance with Lalita, he has to pull his hands away twice in order to hike up his pants. It looks like he is just wiping his hands like they are sweaty but later you find out that the string of his pants kept getting loose.) Then as he speaks with the Bakshi (Bennet) family to formally meet them his face looks more and more uncomfortable as his pants slide further and further down. He refuses to ask Lalita for another dance because at that moment his pants are at his ankles but his long shirt covers his modesty. (I didn’t catch that until my third viewing!) As he leaves the Bakshi (Bennet) family he quickly lifts his leg while grabbing the fallen pants with his hand. Now, Lalita and her family think he is being prejudice…that this rich white American is too good for a middle class Indian girl.

Egads but I laughed so hard with this movie!

Also, Bollywood films are rich with song and dance numbers, sort of how Hollywood was in the 50’s with Singing in the Rain. At first this fact kind of startled me and I wasn’t sure what to think but after watching it a few times, I love them. The songs are toe-tapping fun and some are just beautifully melodic. They have great traditional Indian dances as well as fun and innovative ones. One number was made as a tribute to Grease. It is when all four of the sisters do this great song and dance in their pajamas. It is HILARIOUS too. They are making fun of the Mr. Collins Character, Mr. Kohli, a green-card holding Indian who has made it big in the U.S. and has come back to India to his relatives for a wife.

Martin Henderson plays a great Darcy in such a new way. I couldn’t help feeling sorry for his character being so misjudged and misunderstood.

Aishwarya Rai is just plain gorgeous. She looks strikingly like Angelina Jolie but even more beautiful if that is possible! She is one of the most famous Bollywood actresses and she is AWESOME! I love her treatment of Lalita, she plays her strong and smart. Just like Lizzie.

The sure way to find out if a film is good is to see if your husband and kids like it. They ALL loved it. Keegan and Evan keep asking to see the songs over and over…especially the ‘No Life Without Wife’ song that the girls sang in an almost pajama party manner. They also love the wedding dance where Darcy and Lalita as well as Balraj and Jaya first meet.

The special features are great too. They explain Bollywood and the differences between them and British and American filmmaking. As there were all three: Indian, British, and Americans in the film, it made for one great movie.

So, I recommend that you watch this great film; but keep in mind that it is very different than most movies you will or have ever watched.

Oh, and put the subtitles on because the accents are strong and you might miss some of the hilarious dialogue.


Bonnie Calhoun said...

I've seen several Bollywood movies, mostly by accident, flipping channels....well DH is flipping channels and I'm sitting there pulling my hair out.

Hmrmp...If Mimi will stop interruping me, I could get this thought out!(E-mail)

Anyhow, the movies are surpisingly good, and always with a lot of music. It's refreshing with some of the junk that we have out there!

Jennifer said...

Oh my. I had no idea. It sounds absolutely wonderful! I will definitely pick it up if I see it at the rental store. Aishwarya Rai does look very much like Angelina Jolie. Thanks for the review!

Dennie McDonald said...

I have never seen it - not sure if I will - I am a pureist when it comes to some movies - P & P is one of my favorites

Kimber said...

Thanks for the suggestion - I LOVE the original P&P - who doesn't love Colin Firth...I haven't seen the more recent version that was just out in theaters - but I am up for trying that one and the one you wrote about...I will let you know if (and WHEN) I do :)

Thanks girl :) Glad you are feeling better - I sure missed ya when you were sick!

cube said...

I think I may have seen a Bollywood film. "Rangilla Full Of Color" was the title & it was delightful. We still talk about it.

Trinity13 said...

Looks like a good film to watch with my son. He loves any movies with dancing and singing!

A Human Bean said...

I rented this one also. However, I did not enjoy it. It just dragged for me. But, I am glad you like it.

Fred said...

Haven't seen this one. It sounds like one to buy, though. (We never rent.)

Running2Ks said...

That sounds fantastic. What an entertaining way of dealing with the subject. I had heard of the elaborate Bollywood musical numbers. Sounds cool!

Pirate said...

I had heard of the indian flick and the star but had no desire to watch it until now thanks.

Pia said...

i tried watching indian flicks before, because of an indian bf i had in the past. i find the actresses gorgeous but i never liked their music. they could really be funny sometimes. i definitely heard of bollywood.

Ballpoint Wren said...

I adore Bollywood movies! My neighbor Rita introduced me to them. Jai is the most beautiful woman in the world.

The last movie I watched with her in it was Straight From the Heart. Very romantic but I don't like Salman Khan. He's like the poster child for A.D.D. Ajay Devgan, though... such a romantic character he played. Such.

M. C. Pearson said...

Bonnie C.~ Yeah, so I kept interrupting you, but you kept sending me responses! Touche! Another cool point with Bollywood movies is that there is no sex scenes...not even kissing...it is Taboo.

Jennifer~ You're welcome...remember it is very different than Hollywood's movies.

Dennie~ That is exactly why I was cautious about it too...but it is so different that it doesn't offend me...it even says it is inspired by Pride and Prejudice, meaning that they didn't mean for it to be the same as the book.

Kimber~ I can't wait to see the new P&P too...it comes out on DVD soon!

Cube~ I'll have to check it out! Thanks!

Trinity13~Yeah, Keegan has even said, "I can't believe I like a love story now!"

Bean~ Too bad... I understand that this movie is not right for everyone though. It is VERY different but it didn't drag for me...maybe I was too obsessed with the color and song but I was really entertained.

Fred~ Yep, we'll be buying it...but if you haven't ever seen a Bollywood film, I recommend that you rent it first because it is so different.

Running2ks~ It is also a great homeschool teaching method...cultural differences and all...you could even make a study on India from it.

Pirate~ Well, thanks! I hope you do enjoy it...my boys aren't as old as yours but I'm sure they won't mind looking at the pretty girls!

Pia~ Funny how some people hear and some don't...I grew up with a good friend whose parents were from India and later I had a great friend from Pakistan who was only here for college...I still never heard!

Bonnie W.~ I'll for sure look for that one as well! Wow! Now I have two new Bollywood films to check out thanks to my blogger friends!

audrey` said...

Movies with a packet of popcorns.
The most enjoyable break =P

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I've never been keen on Bollywood movies. I love Chinese and Japanese, but not Indian. Sorry, but it's the one thing I could never like!

Dee said...

This really sounds cool. I love Pride and Prejudice as I saw it on A&E but I have not seen the newer one or this version. I have a friend who has been to india several times and her daughter lives there now. It is a colorful place and she brought back the most beautiful material to make clothes and such. She loves it there.

Jaime H. said...

It sounds funny, but I don't think I could handle it. I hate (not a strong enough word) musicals and things that resemble musicals. I probably wouldn't be able to sit through it.

How are you feeling????

M. C. Pearson said...

audrey~ Yep it is a fun popcorn movie!

jean-luc~ too bad, but I understand...it was made with the cooperation of the American and British film-makers though, so it may be a bit different than the other Bollywood you've seen.

dee~ Yes, I adore the A&E version too...Colin Firth! Oh baby!

jaimie~ if you hate musicals then don't see this...even though it is hilarious you would most likely hate it. :( I am feeling much better! Thank you for your prayers!

M. G. Tarquini said...

HAHA! I mention Bollywood on the second page of HINDSIGHT.

M. C. Pearson said...

m.g.~I'll have to see what you have to say...hmmmm. :)

Dana Y. T. Lin said...

I like the book and the A&E make of it, but this Bride and Prejudice is my FAV out of all the makes of Pride and Prejudice. I think I'm going to buy the DVD, too.

My favorite scene was the last one - where Darcy was at the end of the wedding procession playing the bongo looking thing. Hubs and I both spit our popcorn out laughing so hard!

M. C. Pearson said...

dana~ I totally agree and I never thought I'd like any Pride and Prejudice more than the A&E! I can't even believe how hilarious this one was.

My favorite is the beginning dance where they meet. Sigh. I just love that.

Alydyn said...

M.C. I have heard of Bollywood, and have seen several films although I have never seen this one. I will put it on my netflix list to get in my next shipment! Thanks for the recommendation.