Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Bride & Prejudice (2004)

Tried & Negative

With four daughters all having reached marrying age, Manorama (Nadira Babbar) and Chaman Bakshi (Anupam Kher) are desperate to find the right husbands for them. The trouble is that Lalita (Aishwarya Rai), their eldest daughter, wants to find a man for herself, someone she loves rather than someone who meets her parent's criteria. Whilst the attractive Lalita is not short of suitors it is American William Darcy (Martin Henderson) who grabs her attention but of course he is not to everyone's taste and then there is the handsome and more down to earth Johnny (Daniel Gillies) who knows Darcy.

All those who read my reviews know I am not a big reader and so when I say I have never read Jane Austen's "Pride & Prejudice" it shouldn't come as a surprise. Now with no knowledge of Austen's original story watching "Bride & Prejudice", the Bollywood re-imagining, is an interesting experience. But without the knowledge of the original I have to say that you only end up getting half a movie as I am convinced that part of the experience of watching "Bride & Prejudice" is seeing how it re-imagines the original story.

Martin Henderson in Bride & Prejudice (2004)

So without that prior knowledge what you get in "Bride & Prejudice" is in many ways what you expect from an East meets West production with the emphasis on the West. We get the usual aspects which is some character comedy born from stereotypes especially when it comes to older Indian women as well as some antagonism from two strong characters. We also get some Bollywood entertainment with the entire movie peppered with musical numbers and big dance routines which are hugely entertaining. But it is nothing out of the ordinary with only the same sort of things you can find in dozen's of other movies with a few familiar faces cropping up such as Nitin Ganatra.

Of course there is the acting and when it comes to Martin Henderson he has the look but he is remarkably dull and lacks the energy and charisma which the character needs or seems to need. I say that because opposite Henderson is Aishwarya Rai who not only has the looks to die for but is wonderful at playing strong, opinionated characters which she does effortless here. It means that Aishwarya Rai makes "Bride & Prejudice" more memorable than in truth it deserves to be.

What this all boils down to is that whilst you can watch "Bride & Prejudice" having never read Austen's "Pride & Prejudice" and enjoy what is offered I am sure it is even better if you are already aware of the story and can compare this re-imagining against the original.