Bride and Prejudice
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is transformed into a Bollywood musical by the British-raised director of Bend it Like Beckham with absolutely delightful results. The Bennets become the Bakshis, a middle-class Indian family living in Punjab whose matriarch is eager to marry off the eldest of four daughters as quickly as possible. Enter a slew of suitors from England and the US, including obnoxious, culture-shocked lawyer William Darcy. The literate source material twists the plot nicely throughout, but the joy of the film comes from the blokes-in-frocks British bawdiness, combined with the over-the-top conventions of Indian musicals, full of colour, gesture, romantic melodrama and an air of chastity — no one even kisses onscreen. There’s less singing than you might expect, but when they do appear, the musical numbers are exuberant. The script is a stylistic balancing act, self-aware enough to have the characters comment on genre conventions as the movie indulges in them. Overall, it’s light, charming and on occasion thoughtful — ideal summer entertainment.