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Bride & Prejudice gets good UK opening
Arthur J Pais in New York |
October 12, 2004 12:51 IST
Overcoming lukewarm critical reception, Gurinder Chadha's Bride And Prejudice had a solid opening across the UK, grossing $2.7 million in three days. Yet the comic melodrama with musical numbers by Anu Malik, was way behind the $3.6 million opening weekend record of Chadha's surprise hit, Bend It Like Beckham, two years ago.
The Aishwarya Rai starring adaptation of the Jane Austen novel Pride And Prejudice, Chadha's most ambitious film to date, was at the second position on the national chart in United Kingdom.
The top film of the week was the animated comedy Shark Tale that ate up an enormous $4.4 million in previews in over a dozen cities. The box office figures were announced by the trade publication, Variety.
In America, Bride and Prejudice opens on December 25 in New York and Los Angeles through Miramax, adding more screens and cities through January. But it will be part of the opening night movie of the Indo-American Arts Council's Films of the Indian Diaspora festival starting on November 4 at the Lincoln Centre.
Ash has had several Hindi films, including Devdas, on the Top 10 chart in Britain but opening in a mainstream film at the second position is a career-best for her. If the film does not come down by a massive percentage in the next two weeks, expect it to end its British run with an impressive $10 million. It does not seem poised, however, to overtake Chadha's sleeper hit Bend It Like Beckham which grossed over $19 million in the UK.
Contrary to popular perception, not all the reviews were downbeat.
'Swapping corsets for saris, and polite pianoforte for the bhangra beat, director Gurinder Chadha reinvigorates Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice with fun and flamboyance,' said the BBC. 'What Chadha loses in the sly subtext that made Austen's novel so compelling, she makes up for with wit and mischief.'
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Some tabloids including The Daily Mail gave the film an average rating. Chadha's Bend It Like Beckham too had not received uniformly upbeat reviews but they were better than the ones garnered by the new film.
Calling the movie shallow and without depth, Peter Bradshaw faulted Chadha for not looking at Austen's novel in a new light. He relevantly asked in The Guardian: 'She (Chadha) gave us the bride but where is the prejudice?'
'It's difficult to escape the uncomfortable suspicion that just as emigrant Indian bachelors in this movie condescendingly return to the old country prospecting for wives who are simple and unsophisticated,' he wrote, 'so this successful, savvy director has paid a high-spirited, if slightly obtuse visit to India's classic entertainment genre, and come up with something too saccharine.'
In The Observer, critic Philip French found the film banal and trivial. 'Bride and Prejudice is not even a baby Austen,' he complained. 'It's Mills and Boon.' But he conceded that he found Rai 'incredibly beautiful.'
Though Rai got good marks for her beauty, nobody was rushing to declare that a star had been born on the British screen.