1. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice follows Elizabeth Bennet and her relationship with Fitzwilliam Darcy, making social commentary on marriage and society for young women. The novel’s title comes from the attitudes both Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam overcome in the novel before they end up together; Fitzwilliam’s demeanor is interpreted as excessive pride, while Elizabeth’s thoughts on Fitzwilliam, other suitors and the idea of marriage is interpreted as prejudice. Elizabeth eventually warms to the off-putting Fitzwilliam and he curbs his attitude, so as the novel ends the two end up together.
2. Bride and Prejudice replaces Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam from Austen’s novel with Lalita Bakshi, an Indian, and Will Darcy, an American. Set in India, the film follows the same storyline as the novel, with the two overcoming their bad perceptions of one another to connect and fall in love. Much like the novel is a social commentary on its contemporary England, the film is a commentary on society in present-day India, in the sense that Indian identity is being lost among Western ideals (seen through Mr. Kholi and Darcy’s initial attitude towards Indian culture).
3. Bride and Prejudice takes Austen’s story and applies it to present day India; Lalita finds Will annoying and ignorant of her culture, while Will is portrayed as an arrogant American uninterested in her culture; both eventually get past those ideas and fall in love, copying the same basic story as Austen’s novel. The film adds in musical dance numbers and elements typical of most Bollywood films, but those elements, as well as the change in time period and scenery, don’t detract from the story at all. As far as the basic framework goes in the film, it’s a faithful adaptation of the film, just used in a different setting.
This article referenced a column written by Rajal Pitroda, an Indian film critic, who blasted Chadha’s film. Pitroda said the crossover film was asking for “American acceptance” and asked what had happened to the Bollywood that celebrated Indian culture. The author of the Teknocalypse article agreed with Pitroda, asking “what good is a film that is not original, or at least pretends to be” and that Indian films should stick to making films romanticizing Indian culture, rather than trying to cultivate Hollywood-style blockbusters.
This article points out that Gurinder Chadha is of Indian origin but doesn’t live in India; as she earned her stripes in Western cinema, her film is more of an interpretation of the Indian traditions for a Western audience.
This lengthy analysis of the film looked at the colonial and postcolonial ideologies of Austen’s novel and finds and compares the “neo-colonial” and imperialist undertones in Chadha’s modern day film version.
5. Like Lalita says to Darcy the film, Chadha turns India into a theme park, for two reasons: on the surface, to appeal to Western audiences, and deeper, to make a statement about Western influences on Bollywood film. Although the film contains large Bollywood-style musical numbers meant to appeal to the Western moviegoer, her comment to Darcy can be interpreted that Western influences are turning India into a “Little America” theme park and stripping away Indian traditions, evident through Mr. Kholi’s character. His character, a version of Mr. Collins in the novel, emulates the same idea Collins does in Austen’s novel; where Collins failed to grow through education and English society, Kholi replaced his Indian culture and society with Western ones. Both are the comic relief in their versions (both Elizabeth and Lalita are astounded someone could marry them), but Kholi represents the caricature of a Westernized India–and the fears that further acceptance of Western culture could turn India into Western “theme park.”