Top critical review
Intriguing but slightly painful
on 17 August 2013
Translating Austen to India is a masterful idea - it is a contemporary culture that far better relates to Regency marital mores than modern Britain. (I have often wondered why the West is till so hooked on a story with major plot axis on moral shocks that are long gone.)
But this makes a rather hurried, silly adaptation. Much of the problem is that Pride and Prejudice is too long to fit into a feature film - my bugbear with many book to screen adaptions: many of these need epic length or television series to allow the story to be fully dealt with. I was happy to have discussions pertaining to modern India rather than Regency England, but this did not persuade me that an arranged marriage - love comes later - model is desirable or better, as I think it was kind of meant to.
Having an American Darcy - that kind of American at that - really was the deal breaker. British Indian Bingleys worked well - but Naveen is more interesting than his supposedly more attractive friend, though we see little of 'Bingley'. Wickham is also not convincingly cast or portrayed. The Bridget Jones style man fight was as crap as at was unlikely - I am surprised the National Film theatre (now BFI) allowed it to be shot there, as I'm sure that's the least likely cinema in Britain to put up with latecomers scrapping! Whereas in Austen, Darcy has discreetly put himself out to make Lydia honourable after a major crisis, this Darcy does very little.
Even the Mary equivalent's snake dance is no longer funny after the first viewing.
Perhaps see it once for amusement and curiosity, but it is not something I would recommend repays second viewing (though also I have done so, unwittingly. And those songs are frightening effective chronic earworms!)
I've written more about Austen and how I feel about her now - see my profile for links