Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The NY Times on Bride and Prejudice

The Sunday New York Times had a few pieces this past week on Gurinder Chadha's forthcoming (yeah it has already released in the UK and in India) Bride and Prejudice. In one article, entitled "The Class Acts" NYT columnist Karen Durbin describes the film as a "gaudy, bawdy Bollywood musical" that has a lot going for it. But as Durbin writes,
"none of that would matter without Aishwarya Rai. As Lalita Bakshi, the latest and by far the most glamorous incarnation of Jane Austen's tartly independent Elizabeth Bennet, Ms. Rai doesn't just carry the picture. She also saves it from its occasional leaps into the taste void, as when she tosses off the lyric, "I just wanna man who'll give me some back/ Who'll talk to me and not to my rack!" with such deadpan aplomb that you almost don't wince. But she's more than just a knock-down, drop-dead gorgeous face. She's even more than a talented singer, graceful dancer and vibrantly confident actress in at least two languages.
I haven't seen the film yet, I am going to tomorrow, but Durbin's description sounds so good, I don't know if I have the heart to tell her that Rai doesn't sing. I especially don't want to tell her, b/c Durbin seems to think Rai's performance is Oscar worthy. She proclaims that Ash's performance in Bride and Prejudice is one of "five performances no one should miss. Especially not Academy voters."

Also in the the Sunday Times is a review-ish type piece by Polly Shulman entitled "Dear Reader, Elizabeth Has Returned. And She's Wearing a Sari." Shulman does an actual comparison of Bride with the original Pride, including a comparison of dialogues. Shulman writes,
The provincial Indian setting offers a dowry of matchmaking mothers, colorful scenery and extravagant song-and-dance numbers that can seem captivating or vulgar, depending on your level of pride and prejudice. Perhaps because in an interracial, cross-cultural romance those traits can come uncomfortably close to racism, the "Bride and Prejudice" script plays down its title attitude. Here, Darcy is less snobby than misunderstood. For example, he refuses to dance with Lalita (Aishwarya Rai), the Elizabeth character, not because "she is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me," as Darcy tells Bingley in the novel, but because he hasn't mastered the drawstring on his Indian kurta-pajama suit, and his pants are falling down.
I am going to try and shop a review, but expect some-sort of DESIBLOG review of the film shortly.


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