“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”(Austen 2001: 3). This is the well-known first line of Pride and Prejudice, the acclaimed novel by Jane Austen published in 1813. This line establishes the framework for the narrative of courtship and class issues that will serve to pervade the story. Then there is the lesser-known Bollywood adaptation of Austen's novel, known as Bride and Prejudice. This is a movie that was released in 2005 that carries the tagline, “Bollywood meets Hollywood… and it's a perfect match.” (Wilson 2006: 323). This sets the scene for a story about love and a cultural conflict that will take place simultaneously. Both of these lines highlight the uniqueness of the two stories, but they also represent the similarities between them. The first line of the novel examines the notion of a blurred true/false reality in the novel, whereas the tagline from the movie brings in the theme of a conflict between cultures.
[...] There are many instances where the film blends song and dance in a way that links it to the work of Austen. This is the influence of Bollywood which is increasingly recognizable among Western audiences. The various songs that appear in the film clearly link it to the novel which is also heavily centered on song and dance. These feminine accomplishments are heavily scrutinized in the novel. An example of this can be seen in the novel when the narrator tacitly consents to Elizabeth Bennet's unassuming nature with regard to her musical talents. [...]
[...] The director of the movie though, maintains the comedic nature of the film as a way of allowing the adaptation to address the same themes as the book: class, culture and gender. (Wilson 2006: 323-4). The movie has no choice but to be different from the book because it seeks to present the story, which was originally intended to be for an early nineteenth century audience, to a mass contemporary audience. This poses a challenge in terms of re-presentation. As such, what occurred was a hybrid, which magnified the problems associated with adaptations of books, at the same time as it blends Hollywood and Bollywood. [...]
[...] What this produces is a contemporary attempt at capturing the social phenomena that shape cultural and individual identities, but of course the way that is done is somewhat different, but given the circumstances (that it is a contemporary Bollywood adaptation of a nearly two century old novel), this is arguably unavoidable. (Wilson 2006: 325). One of the main differences between the two versions, and one that is not intended to be a secret, is that the director of the movie integrates and examines contemporary cultural stereotypes using Austen's story and her themes. [...]
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