Monday, June 05, 2006

Bride and Prejudice

I finally got a copy of Bride and Prejudice, a British movie that tells the story Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" from the point of a middle-class family in India. I absolutely loved this movie. The song and dance numbers were fantastic, full of wonderful rhythm, color and song (think recent Broadway musical movies like Chicago, only better). I really enjoyed this movie, which was such a refreshing take from the American movie scene.

But as I was watching this film, I kept wondering, would real Bollywood lovers enjoy this film as much? Different cultures have different concepts of what makes a great movie and storyline; I've watched some foreign films like Children of Heaven and Fast Runner, with plotlines and endings that I just didn't get. Similarly, I have a feeling that this is movie was "Bollywood Lite" for westerners, which made me think about how I laugh at Chinese take-out in America and deride it as poorer derivative of Chinese food that my family eats at home. (Though I must confess I have a soft spot for American Chinese vegetable lo mein). True Bollywood lovers may scoff at this movie, but as a Bollywood viewer virgin, I have to admit that my unsophisticated self with American sensibilities was very entertained. This is a fantastic foreign film for people not used to watching foreign films (and hey Ashanti does a GREAT hip hop dance number in here).

The important thing to remember is that movies like this, which are filtered for Western sensibilities, do not necessarily present what culture or an art is most commonly perceived as. As long as you don't take this movie to represent all Bollywood films, or all of Indian society (or American or British society for that matter), and enjoy it for what it is, films like this are great. In fact, I'm going to try and get my hands on some more Bollywood films. Next on my list are I have found it and Straight from the heart and I 'd love to hear more recommendations


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