Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Monday, February 21, 2005


My beloved spouse and I left the 2-year-old with the next-door-neighbors the other night and went to see Bride and Prejudice on the big screen. By the writers and director of “Bend It Like Beckham,” which we had both enjoyed, it’s an adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” set mostly in modern-day India, with some scenes in London and L.A., and made into a Bollywood-style musical.

If you like Jane Austen and musicals, it’s a gas gas gas. Hilarious, touching, spectacular, exhilarating. Hundreds of people in the most brilliantly colorful clothes crowded into the streets of an Indian city, dancing dancing dancing. A chorus of men in drag dancing dancing dancing -- I have no idea if this is typical Bollywood or not.

To give a taste, without giving away too much -- in a love-song-scene set on an L.A. beach, a black gospel choir materializes on the sand, standing on risers in full church robes, to serenade the lovers -- while the strongly Indian-flavored vocal riffs are sung by a chorus of surfers.

The plot feels like Jane Austen, though with the darker undertones washed out -- but the iconic uptight miscommunicating I-hate-you-I-love-you characterizations, with the nuances between the upper-middle and the upper-upper classes, are strong. The acting hits the right notes, with tons of nuanced emotional stuff going on all the time among the background players.

Hearing contemporary-style songs in a film was exhilarating. I hadn’t experienced it before in my movie-going life. Mostly Indian pop, heavy infectious dance beats, somewhat hybridized Indian-Western melodies and harmonies. And even though I didn’t leave the theater humming any of the songs, only one of them bugged me as it was going by, and it was brief. The rest sparkled and dazzled. My spouse observed afterwards that American movies reserve that sort of exuberance for violence.

My spouse and I -- both fans of musicals and Jane Austen -- loved it.
Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?