Analysis of the Book: In the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, we enter into the lives of the Bennetts, a wealthy family of seven living in an estate in England during the eighteenth century. The family is made up of five daughters who must be successfully married off to preferably wealthy men. Daughters who were not married off were unable to support themselves, resulting in prostitution or family burdens. Most marriages were strategically arranged since the marriage consisted of more than the daughters, but also the properties and inheritances of the daughters becoming that of the husbands upon marriage. The notion of property also extends to the fact that upon marriage, the woman becomes the property of her husband. Even though the theme of property permeates the novel, other themes are more prominent in the novel. The themes of classism, politics, marital arrangements, and gender are strong themes in the novel.
Analysis of the Film: The film Bride and Prejudice by Gurinder Chada is a Bollywood/Hollywood musical that tells the story of a multicultural relationship between an Indian female and an English/British male. The story-line of the film reveals the struggle of understanding cultural differences and cultural perceptions between Indians and Britians. Although the ending of the film represents many of the cultural perceptions as misconceptions, there are underlying struggles which the interracial couple must overcome when it comes to the traditions of their mothers wanting to keep the marriages among like cultures (Indian girl must marry an Indian man, while an English man must marry an English woman). This becomes one of the many major themes of the film: culturalism, feminism, classism, inter-racialism, economics, and prearranged marriages. The appropriate mix of musical numbers with the story-line made the film an appropriate and effective means of getting the audience to understand the difference in cultures, geographic locations, social and economics.
Adaptation: The adaptation of the novel into film could have been done by using a direct match in cultures and dialogues. With the adaptation of Bride and Prejudice the film uses two different cultures to reflect prejudices, preconceptions, and pre-arranged marriages as a platform for presenting the story by way of a musical. The musical numbers, songs, dancing, and festive colors made the story more entertaining than serious. Remaining on the entertaining side of the story, the relationship that developed between Lucky and the cunningly dangerous Wickam ended in Lucky returning to her family rather than eloping as foretold in the novel. The adaption from the novel to the Bollywood musical was an effective and creative method of revealing the story-line.
Online Research: Below are additional online research relating to the novel and the film.
A Film Education Assignment http://www.filmeducation.org/pdf/resources/secondary/Bride_and_Prejudice.pdf This is an assignment that guides you through the adaptation of a novel into a film using the Pride and Prejudice and the Bride and Prejudice adaptation as a means of understanding the implications involved. It emphasizes the importance of not being pre-judgmental of the cover before experiencing the text and film.
New York Times Review http://www.newstimes.com/entertainment/article/Page-Turners-Taking-a-look-at-the-Pride-and-930532.php This takes a look at the different ways in which Pride and Prejudice can be understood. Because there are many ways in which the story can be adapted, there leaves many opportunities for additional versions in the upcoming years.
Critical Analysis: Some critics and reviewers express that Bride and Prejudice is a “feel good, entertaining” film that causes the audience to become distracted rather than face the issues. As an avid musical lover, I would have to disagree. The musical is geared towards the more visual and artsy audiences. The fact that there are songs, dance routines, and comedy throughout the film, there is more than enough instances where the issues are well represented. One instance among many is the pre-arrangement of Indian daughters is not that different from the well-accepted marital arrangement of the English man to maintain the economic sustainability of the family. Although the film has an overall “feel good” nature, there are instances where you see males as leading the women on, female flirtations, women-pursuing-men/men-pursuing-women, wealth/strategic alliances, among other issues that are well-presented in the film. It is important to reveal the critical issues because not only were their issues of classism in the novel, but the film needs to have the same issues interlaced within the story. The film adds more complexity by adding the multiculturalism to the story-line. Despite the extreme difference in layout from novel to film, both are effectively communicated to their audiences.