Blog Response – Bride and Prejudice (ENGL329B)

1. The themes of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice are based in English society, namely the facet that Mr. Bennett’s estate is entailed, which means it could only go to a male heir. With five daughters, he would leave his property to Mr. Collins, which bypasses his daughters and leaves them to fend for themselves. This aspect of the English gentry sets forth the entire sequence of events of the novel, and it can be deduced that without this initial prerequisite, there would be no story. The absolute adherence to these rules and regulations at the expense of the (seeming) good of the people is harped upon by Jane Austen throughout her novel.

2. From the initial scenes, the difference between the West (Britian/USA) and the East (India) is hammered home by every aspect of the film. When Mr. Darcy and the gang get off the plane in India, they are wearing very Western garb (it should be noted that the men are not wearing ties, which is a common style for businessmen in “non-Western” countries), but a few minutes later in the film, they are wearing traditional Indian dress. This serves as a visual cue for how the societies are going to be separated. It should also be noted that there is a subtle filter change between the scenes in “India” and “Los Angeles.” “India” is reddish and “LA” is more blue.

3. The film is much happier and light than the book, as there are no real implications for anyone to get married or not married. Mrs. Bakshi’s biggest fear when Lalita refuses to marry Mr. Kholi is that she will miss out on his large LA spread and be kept from moving on. This is in stark contrast to the fortune and entire life the Bennett’s stand to lose if the marriage between Elizabeth and Mr. Collins does not happen. Granted, it is difficult to find a predicament akin to the aforementioned in the affluent parts of the modern world (something tells me that the poor in Mumbai do not have the resources to perform large dance numbers) with the change of laws and societies, but regardless the stakes are not adapted in a way that is believable.

4.

http://www.movieposterdb.com/movie/0361411/Bride-And-Prejudice.html

This website contains the posters used to promote the film, and by looking at them we can construe what the producers hoped to advertise the movie as containing, and what they pushed for during the creation process. The posters for the US market (the most lucrative movie market in the world) cut out the family (which is present in the UK and Indian posters) and has Lalita looking back at Mr. Darcy, which is not seen in any other poster. This gives the film a more “romantic-comedy” image and would further the assumption that the book’s themes were pared down (or augmented) to fit this genre.

http://www.tvsa.co.za/showinfo.asp?showid=766

The “fun facts” in this link say Aishwarya Rai gained 20 pounds for the role so she would look more realistic, perhaps because Elizabeth would have been under large amounts of stress which could lead to a weight gain.

http://web.ebscohost.com.proxy-um.researchport.umd.edu/ehost/detail?sid=ee822e2c-f279-431f-8258-4bc09da3b454%40sessionmgr113&vid=1&hid=119&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=aft&AN=505106929

This review talks about Kholi and says he is “scene-stealing…[and] endearing,” which is a curious thing to say when it could said that his role is a racist stereotype of Indians who find financial success in the US.

5. Mr. Kholi stands in for Mr. Collins in the film, and the implications attached to Mr. Collins character are so unfavorable that the nature of Kholi’s character makes the entire role a very negative stereotype. It is well known that Jane Austen did not like clergyman of her time that subscribed to a certain dynamic in their daily work. She made Mr. Collins a meddling fool to give her opinions on the clergy (but the novel was published under a pseudonym so she was not attempting to start a dialogue). Mr. Kholi is a foolish Indian man who moved to America to make more money and approaches Lalita in a very ungentlemanly and overtly uncouth way. He is childish and no other character really likes him. To have him as the doppelganger for Mr. Collins invites the comparison between the intent for these two roles, and such a comparison makes Kholi’s inclusion seem to be a negative commentary on Indian people who decide to move to the USA. I sincerely hope this is not what the crew intended when making the film, but it is hard to deny that the potential for such an intended effect exists.

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2 thoughts on “Blog Response – Bride and Prejudice (ENGL329B)

  1. dparisi51

    I think your analysis of Mr. Kholi is spot on. I too found that character a little discomforting. I would argue that, while the pressure for Lalita to get married is much less than Elizabeth faced, the pressure is still there but in a different way. Lalita is proud of her Indian heritage and cultural identity, especially when it is threatened by Darcy’s America and Belraj’s Britain. The pressure to marry from her family weighs heavily on her not out of danger that their livelihood is at stake but more at the danger of her parents’ happiness and pride.

    Reply
  2. Joseph E. Byrne

    Pretty good analysis of the book, film, and adaptation (though more on themes and less on character and plot would make it better). The online research is balanced, with some good finds. Your critical argument gets at some interesting and even controversial elements, but it’s unfocused. You begin by asserting that Mr. Kholi is a stereotype, which is valid. Then you talk about Austen’s atittude towards clergy (which, following your link [thanks for including it] I saw was not as negative as you assert), also valid. But the connection between these two things is not clear. It has potential, if you consider HOW and WHY Chadha turns an obnoxious clergyman into an equally obnoxious Mr. Kholi WHO IS NOT A CLERGYMAN. Why isn’t he a clergyman? How is or is not Kholi – a nouveau rich Indian in America – an analogue for a clergyman? That’s a fascinating question, and something you could build an argument around.

    10/10. Joseph Byrne. ENGL329B.

    Reply

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