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                                         Photos above: Bride And Prejudice director Gurinder Chadha; Main l-r: Namrata Shirodkar as Jaya Bakshi and Aishwarya Rai as Lalita Bakshi; below l-r: Namrata Shirodka and Aishwarya Rai; Martin Henderson and Aishwarya Rai; Sonali Kulkarni, Namrata Shirodkar, Aishwarya Rai and dancers
he writer-director of What’s Cooking? and Bend It Like Beckham had been long mulling over fresh ideas about trying to make a Bollywood-style movie in her native Britain
when the flash finally came while washing the dishes.
Why not take a literary classic like, say, Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice, which everybody knows, and then give it the Bollywood treatment. “Now that,” thought Gurinder Chadha, “could be an interesting British film.”
Even as the final lot of plates were being buffed, she and her husband Paul were quickly warming to the proj- ect. Elizabeth Bennet would be Indian, Darcy an American and Mr Bingley, a British Asian.
“Suddenly,” Chadha explained, “you’ve got a world we’re very much part of and we can understand. And the more we started making it work with Austen’s text, the more it just seemed to fall into place.”
The result is, pardon the pun, Bride And Prejudice, filmed by Chadha on three continents. The Bennets have become the Bakshis who live in small town India whose parents are deter- mined to find eligible bachelors for their four daughters to marry.
The most headstrong of the Bakshi quartet is Lalita who’s determined to marry for love without the interfer- ence of her meddlesome mother. Bingley is now Oxford-educated young barrister Balraj while his old universi- ty pal Darcy is still Darcy but American and very proud of it.
And no, added Chadha with her infectious laugh, there’s no wet under- shirt moment a la Colin Firth in her film because, she added firmly, “that’s not in the book.”
There’s a suitably cosmopolitan cast to match her contemporary re- working of Austen’s early 19th Century novel. Lalita’s played by Aishwarya Rai (Devdas), an authentic Bollywood superstar; Kiwi born but now LA-based Martin Henderson (The Ring) is Darcy; while British actors Naveen Andrews and Indira Varma are Balraj and his flighty sister - “a sort of Indian Tara Palmer Tomkinson” giggled Chadha.
There’s an admirable blend of east and west on both sides of the camera. The production designer is Nick Ellis while some spectacular song and dance sequences come courtesy of
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Austen meets Asia in Gurinder Chadha’s Bride And Prejudice

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