Week Six: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (and Bride and Prejudice)

Book Five! This was read from February 3rd to February 9th 2014.  In continuation of my theme, here’s my second book of February by Jane Austen. Since, Austen is ancient history and I will probably have nothing new to say about her, I decided to do that which I do best. The first three weeks of February-books by Austen are in comparison to their Bollywood adaptations! You read that right, I actually merged my love for kitschy Hindi movies with literature. Also, because after the first month, it was a little tooooo tedious to write on and on about every book I read (with two challenges, this lag in posting opinions is just increasing!).
Short Mein Bole Toh: The book is simply a show of how important it is to get your daughter married and applies the wisdom of Austen’s era to her characters. Surprisingly, Indians in this century might well be living in the Georgian Era. That is how seamlessly the book fits India.
If you’ve time, then please read the rest of my opinion of this book and the Bollywood movie (Bride and Prejudice) based on it.
Pride and Prejudice is one of those books that my mom has read and enjoyed as much as I have and even my friends who consider themselves to be non-readers (no such term). The base of the story is simple, family with too many daughters wants to get them married to worthy and rich men. The daughters have different personalities and hence finding a boy is a tough job. If that sounds familiar to you, as a reader from India, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Bollywood has had this theme for its movies since times immemorial. It’s one of those few instances where reel life actually is inspired by real life. Indians with large families of daughters who are of marriageable age is not unheard of. That is one of the premises of an entire sector of business that we know as matrimony helpers.

In every possible way, Pride and Prejudice lives up to the genre specific tropes. The girl, Elizabeth (Liz) hates a man because she finds him haughty, falls for another who turns out to be of bad character, discovers the first man and then happily ever after follows. The other sisters are archetypes for other kinds of “brides”. The eldest Jane is kind, so finding her a husband shouldn’t be tough, Mary has the qualities sought after in a bride – studious and music lover, the youngest two are the opposites where Lydia has no opinion of her own and follows her sister around while Kitty flirts with everyone she meets.
If you see, the movie practically wrote itself. While the only changes to adapt the book into the Indian setting include changing the number of sisters to 4 with Lydia removed, Lalita (Aishwarya Rai)  being a mellowed down version of Liz and Darcy as a misunderstood character more than prejudiced as in the novel.
I find Liz to be a very vain character. She forms her own opinions about people and then holds them up to her expectations. Obviously, the movie makes Lalita like-able and changes the circumstances under which her opinions form.

There a lot of things I can say about the movie, but since this is about the book, I will keep it short. I prefer the movie because of the following reasons:

1. The music is brilliant! Though it is by Anu Malik, it is not the typical music he usually dishes out. If you understand Hindi, then I recommend watching the songs from both the English and Hindi version (Balle Balle Amritsar to L.A.!) and appreciate the job done by Farhan Akhtar on the lyrics of both languages.
2. The movie is very funny in parts. Mr. Kohli trumps Mr. Williams any day!
3. Anupam Kher and Nadira Babbar as Mr. and Mrs. Bakshi.
This is the part where I contemplate if the re-reading helped me understand the text better. Yes it did! A lot of subtleties including innuendo stare me up in the face. Even better, I enjoyed a movie!
Who Should Read: If you love romances and a tale where two people who seem to be wrong for each other but are actually right come together in the end.
Who Should Not Read: If you’ve no stomach for a story where the main plot revolves around marriage. But honestly, that’s the point of the book!

4 thoughts on “Week Six: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (and Bride and Prejudice)

  1. Actually, Kitty’s character was edited out in the movie. Lydia is an integral part of the story line when she runs away. That is what brings Darcy and Lizzy together. Even in the movie.

    I never knew Anu Malik wrote the songs! Damn! I loved the songs. Used to listen to the Hindi and English versions one after the another. (Yes, I was that crazy loyal to Jane Austen’s original.)

    Liked by 1 person

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