Bride and Prejudice (2004)

1. Analysis of the Book

Pride and Prejudice was Jane Austen’s sardonic and comedic social commentary on upperclass English life in the 1800s, the same time period as the novel’s publication. In this novel, Austen touches on patriarchal marriage politics along with the gender and class disparities present in her time. She pokes fun at the immobility of classes in England and the confinements women faced as a result of their class. Austen centers her story around Elizabeth Bennett, who is supposed to marry Mr. Collins in order to secure her family’s prominence in the English gentry but ends up eloping with Mr. Darcy. Through this novel, Austen highlights the patriarchal and conservative nature of the English upper classes even though more liberal idealogies were emerging in England at the time.

2. Analysis of the Film

Bride and Prejudice is a typical Bollywood movie filled with several musical numbers and a feel good ending. This film tries to explore several contemporary issues such as the effects of globalization, multiculturalism, and to a certain degree, old fashioned marriage politics. Gurinder Chadha’s multicultural background plays a huge influence in the movie’s setting as it takes place in India, Britain, and America. The lack of racial tension and/or discrimination within the film also showcases Chadha’s multicultural identity and tolerance. The overall tone of the film is light hearted, with bright sets, bright clothing, upbeat musical interruptions, and nothing too heavy is made of the issues previously mentioned.

3. Analysis of the Adaptation

Bride and Prejudice tries to reenact Austen’s classical work of literature through an Indian family rather than an English one. It is also in a modern setting as opposed the setting of Austen’s novel in the early 1800s so certain issues presented in Pride and Prejudice, such as gender inequality, does not shine through because of the closing of the gender gap through the centuries. Chadha keeps to Austen’s story line more or less with Lalita Bakshi playing the role of Elizabeth Bennett, William Darcy as Mr. Darcy, and Mr. Kholi standing in for Mr. Collins. Chadha offers a fresh and light version of Pride and Prejudice that has none of the deep and dire consequences presented in the novel (such as the implications of Lizzie eloping with Mr. Darcy). Chadha’s choice of an Indian family is clever because India is a country where social mobility was rigid and marriage arrangements still happen, therefore Chadha can still display the patriarchy and class struggles presented in Pride and Prejudice.

4. Online Research

  • Journal article where Sapna Samant argues that Bride and Prejudice is not real Bollywood but a watered down version of it for western audiences. She also explores the western appeal for Bollywood movies such as Bride and Prejudice.

  • Journal article discussing intertextuality in Bride and Prejudice.
  • An interview with Gurinder Chadha on her experience breaking into Hollywood and how she believed Bride and Prejudice would be recepted in India.

5. Critical Analysis

The character of Mr. Collins in the book is represented by Mr. Kholi in the film. Are they a good match? Why or why not?

Mr. Collins and Mr. Kholi have very similar personalities and characteristics that make Mr. Kholi a good incarnation of Austen’s character. In Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Collins is a pretentious man who loves to brag about his less than great status in life and comes off as a little idiotic. In the book, he is a little parody of the shallowness and privilege of the upperclass English gentleman. Bride and Prejudice‘s Mr. Kholi becomes a parody of the Americanization of Indian culture. He is pompous and feels he is privileged because of his “American” possessions and cultural knowledge. He doesn’t seem to care all that much for his native culture or Lalita save for her family’s assets. His over the top, snobbish behavior resonates with the Mr. Collins found in Pride and Prejudice.


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