Sunday, March 26, 2006

outcast from life's feast again

A moment of profound lust in hick town Amritsar

After a stultifying day poring over housing co-op accounts (though I secretly enjoy the play of numbers) I sat down with friends to watch my first ever Bollywood movie, Bride and Prejudice. I hope Jane Austen would’ve liked it – it was actually surprisingly faithful to the spirit of the original, and though it was light-on and I much preferred the weight of the recent British production, I still felt the stab of recognition of the moral dilemmas – particularly in the Wickham-Lydia episode – that first exercised me as a sixteen-year-old reading one of his first adult novels, a sixteen-year-old keen to run away like Lydia, keen to have a love, or just a girl, to run away with. In spite of the delirious color and costumes, and the cast of thousands, and a few pretty faces, this treatment wasn’t really my cup of Darjeeling. There were a few references to reading, and Indian lasses with books in hand, but this was half-hearted at best, and Bride’s Darcy was straight out of Mills and Boon. I suppose the idea was to be relaxed and entertained, and maybe I just wasn’t in the mood. There were a few cracks at Americans, and Americanised Indians, but they were altogether feeble, and belied by the old-style Hollywood treatment of the plot. Sarah picked up on the similarity of Bollywood films to the Hollywood of the thirties, when depression-ravaged movie-goers lapped up the fast-talking antics of the class they presumably aspired to. The Elizabeth character (Lalita in this version) had way more substance than Darcy, on whom she was wasted, and some of the minor characters were fun in a meet-the-Fokkers sort of way, but that was about it for jaded moi.



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