Monday, February 07, 2005

Ash on Letterman and Bride and Prejudice Reviews

Some positive reviews are coming on of TMBWITW Aishwarya Rai's Hollywood debut in Bride and Prejudice. And to promote Bride, which opens in NYC/LA/and Washington D.C. on February 11, and in the rest of the U.S. in the next couple of weeks, Ash seems to be making the rounds. First 60 Minutes, then her appearance on Nightline, and now, well actually tomorrow, Tuesday Night, she is going to be making an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. I hope Letterman's heart can take it. Actually, I think it will be quite amusing to see how Letterman deals with Ash on the show. The film will have its glitzy red-carpet premiere tomorrow in New York as well.

Additionally some reviews of the film have been trickling in, and most have been kind of positive, especially with regards to Aishwarya's performance. Ebert and Roeper gave Bride two thumbs up, and Peter Travers from Rolling Stone (who BTW mistakenly list Kareena Kapoor in the credits instead of Namrata Shirodkar--whose performance exceeded my expectations) proclaims

"Rai is a world-class hottie with talent to match, as she proves in her first English-speaking role. Pity pretty boy Martin Henderson (The Ring), who plays Darcy, the American in love with Lalita despite the prejudice of his hotel-magnate mom (Marsha Mason). He looks lost in his scenes with Rai. Like a kid driving a Rolls, he's out of place and outclassed.The script unravels as it moves to London and Los Angeles and stuffs in new takes on Austen's characters. But Chadha, the shrewdie, keeps the movie alive with swirling color, music and movement. The songs are deliciously silly, especially "No Life Without Wife," which Lalita and her sisters sing in mockery of Mr. Kholi (a scene-stealing Nitin Ganatra), the bachelor who wants a bride for his new L.A. home. Purists who think Austen will be spinning in her grave will be wrong. She'll be dancing."

I think Travers was right on, but more than that, I think Bride highlights Chadha's directing ability. You may say the film is nothing more than a kitchy musical ode to Bollywood, and essentially that is what the film is, in spite of its amazingly witty dialogue and charming song and dance numbers. However, when you begin to compare the performances given in Bride by Ash, and by Namrata Shirodkar, from those typical to a Bollywood film, to me it was as if they were transformed from being just pretty faces, which they definitely are, to people who I wouldn't hesitate to call actresses. And I think you can attribute that to the director, or some really, really good acting classes.

I found the film thoroughly enjoying, and will definitely be seeing it a few more times. You should too. And don't forget to check out Ash on Letterman tomorrow.


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