Pride and Prejudice is a 19th century novel written by Jane Austen. As it is a popular novel it has been remade for television and film several times. In this essay two media adaptations are being analysed. The 1995 BBC classic drama of pride and Prejudice and a 2004 Bollywood version renamed Bride and Prejudice.
The BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is a period drama and has been made using the books storyline and text very closely whereas the Bollywood adaptation has only faithfully adhered to the storyline and parts have been changed to attract a modern audience. In addition to storyline, and text not changed in the BBC adaptation, costume, props and language are all in keeping with the 19th century way of life. However the Bollywood adaptation uses costume, props and language from the Indian culture, this has up dated the film and also keeps with the storyline of the book.
Both adaptations have very different audiences they are trying to attract. Pride and Prejudice aims for older and more mature people, an audience who are interested in period dramas and may have read the book. The Bollywood film, however is aimed at younger audiences who may have not heard of Pride and Prejudice nor read the book. It has been changed into a romantic comedy; “romcom” rather than a more serious look at the book. The use of the Indian culture and view on marriages is a contrast to the views in the 19th century.
In both productions the main theme is marriage but they use different methods to represent it. The BBC version shows how relationships and marriage were in the 19th century, in contrast to this how many of the restrictions placed in the 19th century are still in practise in the Indian culture today, however, modernizes the story.
In this essay the two media adaptations, (Pride and Prejudice and Bride and Prejudice), are going to be compared to show how they have been adapted for screen. Three key scenes from both productions are going to be discussed and a number of factors to show how they have changes. The three scenes are:
* The Netherfield Ball
* Mr Collins/Kholi Arrival
* Lydia/Lucky and Wickham relationship
The Netherfield ball is the place in both adaptations where Darcy and Elizabeth/Lalita meet for the first time the two settings however are very different. In the Bollywood version the setting very much reflects the Indian culture, it is colourful and brash. The atmosphere is hectic with lots of people talking, dancing, laughing and partying. On the other hand the BBC version is more formal with talking kept to minimum and the mood is soft, this is to show what an occasion in 19th century would have been like. The BBC also has kept to tradition and there are different rooms for occasions throughout, Bollywood have used an open plan room to show the change in time and fashion.
The camera shots in the scene change a lot. The BBC adaptation uses a birdseye view of the dancing and uses long shot, medium shot, close ups and point of view shot. This is to give a wide variation of the view of the ballroom and closer shots to see the actors’ facial expressions. In the Bollywood adaptation however they use only a few birdseye views of the dancing and more medium shots and point of view shots especially with Darcy and Lalita’s conversation, this shows us what the other person is feeling as they talk to one another and identify with the character. When Darcy is looking up at Lalita on the balcony and Lalita to Darcy on the ground the camera angle is pointed up and down, this gives the film a more dramatic look. Lighting also varies considerably in the two adaptations. In the Bollywood adaptation top lighting is used to brighten the room and give a party atmosphere, this changes in the scene with Darcy and Lalita on the balcony however and backlighting is mainly used. As the BBC adaptation is a period drama lighting is not as bright as the Bollywood effect, there is more under lighting used from lamps and chandeliers. The sound in both adaptations is also clearly different, the BBC use classical sounds and people play instruments for music, and the music they dance to is soft and quite compared to the Bollywood sound. Instruments again produce the music but everyone sings which gives it more volume, they also use words to reflect their feelings.
Both scenes have dancing involved but they are clearly different. The BBC has again stuck with traditional dance, which has very repetitive dance moves and is slow. Also shown is how social etiquette is set out with the men only allowed to ask women to dance and how it was very rude for them to refuse. Bollywood has changed this in its adaptation; the dancing is traditional for Bollywood style, fast and very enthusiastic. The men start the dance with the women following later, the women all walk down the balcony and tighten their saris before they dance to show they are ready. Another difference between dances in Bollywood is the man and women dance towards each other rather than with each other, both of these points show how women now have more power than in the 19th century. The songs in Bollywood films offer meaning and feelings of the characters which the film hasn’t got time to express, this is something used in Bollywood and has been included to reflect this.
The conversations that take place between Darcy and Lalita and Darcy and Elizabeth are very different. In the BBC version Darcy and Elizabeth do not actually have a face-to-face conversation, he makes a very rude and cutting remark about her which she later makes light of with her friends. The conversation in the BBC adaptation is also very polite and minimal but important, the conversation has not been changed from the book. However, in the Bollywood version Darcy tells Lalita how he thinks it is simpler to have an arranged marriage, she takes this the wrong way and thinks he means Indian women are simple. Lalita is very defensive towards him and tells him otherwise. This change made in the film is to display thoughts on Indian marriage and show the similarities it has with the original 19th century tradition. There is also a conversation which is both in the BBC and Bollywood adaptations of the novel, that of Mrs Bennet/Bakshi. In the scenes she talks about marriage and wealth to friends, this conversation gives an insight into the character already and has been included in the Bollywood adaptation because the characters are the same.
The costumes in both productions are exactly the same for the time. The costumes also represent the characters. Darcy is uncomfortable but more so in the Bollywood version because he cannot speak the language, cannot join in with the dancing and is a different nationality. The Bingley sister wears modern and expansive clothes, in the BBC version she wears feathers and gold jewellery. This has been changed in the Bollywood adaptation to the sister wearing designer labels, this equally shows the wealth but also the change in time. The Bennet/Bakshi sisters in both productions are not as wealthy as the Bingley sisters and this is visible in their clothes. In the BBC adaptation they do not wear feathers and the accessories are very simple likewise in the Bollywood adaptation they do not wear designer labels.
In the scene the personalities of the characters are seen and they are quite similar in both adaptations. In the Bollywood adaptation Darcy is uncomfortable, however he also very rude in the BBC version. Elizabeth is lively, strong and defensive in both scenes, she also shows in the BBC adaptation when she makes light of Darcy’s comment about her. Bingley in both versions is charming and in Bollywood takes part in the dance unlike Darcy. Mrs Bennet and Bakshi both talk about marriage and don’t differ at all in the adaptations, as do the younger Bennet sisters they are flirtatious and playful. The key personality of the characters has not been changed at all and this is one way in which the Bollywood adaptation has stuck to the novel.
The scene of Mr Collins/Kholi’s arrival in both adoptions is changed in many ways. Transport that Mr Collins/Kholi arrives in is very different, in the Bollywood adaptation Mr Kholi arrives in a taxi whereas in the BBC adaptation Mr Collins arrives in a carriage. This change shows the change in times and the change of country. The setting is also different and reflects the change in times and country, Mr Collins arrives out side the Bennets house in the Bennets estate which has gardens and gravel walkways, Mr Kholi however, arrives on a dusty Indian street and the Bakshis do not own any estate around them. This to show how the Bakshis live compared to the Bennets.
In terms of camera shots Mr Collins/Kholi’s arrival is quite the same, the camera use medium and long shots to show both characters arriving and point of view shots from the families and Mr Collins/Bakshi’s view. Both adaptations also use close up shots of the sisters smirking at Mr Collins/Kholi, this involves the audience in the amusement they find in Mr Collins/Kholi. Lighting is different in the scenes though, Mr Collins arrives in daylight at the Bennets and toplighting is used to give a pleasant atmosphere. In the Bollywood adaptation they are inside and the lighting is darker but again toplighting is used. There are no songs or music in the scenes of Mr Collins/Kholi arriving there is only he and the families talking, however in both films sound effects are used. In the BBC adaptation the carriage arriving and in the Bollywood adaptation the Indian street, these sound effects add to the atmosphere and setting of the arrival.
Another adaptation that has been made is the costume. Mr Collins wears formal dress which is the clothes which would be worn in the 19th century. The style of his clothes are also a representation of him, he is a clergyman and a very plain man. Mr Kholi’s clothes are stylish, bold and very up to date, and this represents his character very well. Mr Kholi is self-confident, loud man and does not realise often what he is saying or how he offends people, the clothes also represent his break away from the Indian culture and living in America. As well as the costumes reflecting their characters the audience can also see what the characters are like. In the BBC adaptation Mr Collins is a religious and traditional man, Mr Kholi however has turned his back on his Indian culture and moved to America for a better life. There are some parts of the Mr Collins character that are the same in the Bollywood adaptation in the same way as the BBC adaptation. Both Mr Collins and Mr Kholi look down to the Bennets/Bakshis, they think they are better than them. In Mr Collins’ case this is because he will inherit the Bennets estate and Mr Kholi’s because he has more money and a better life than the Bakshi’s, they are both unpleasant characters.
The Bollywood adaptation has also changed the conversation of Mr Kholi compared to Mr Collins. When Mr Collins arrives he uses his language to make himself look smart, he uses substantial and intelligent words, which are incorrect. Alternatively Mr Kholi brags about his wealth and lifestyle, he also has inappropriate conversations and is very out spoken. Greetings in the two adaptations are also different too, Mr Collins greets people formally and there is no touching or hugging, this reflects the social etiquette of the 19th century instead of the informal hugs Mr Kholi gives.
In both adaptations there are similarities and differences in the mannerisms of Mr Collins and Mr Kholi. Mr Collins uses formal language and, as mentioned before, incorrect in the context intelligent words. This is unlike Mr Kholi who uses casual language and does not realise what he says sometimes offends people. In the same way Mr Collins eats using social etiquette and Mr Kholi eats with his hands and mouth open, Mr Kholi also uses his hands when he talks. These changes show equally how the character is offensive but in different ways and in different circumstances. A similarity however, is that Mr Collins/Kholi feel they are more important than certain people and this shows when they both sit at the head of the table at the meal with the Bennets/Bakshis.
As well as the mannerisms of Mr Collins/Kholi presenting similarities and differences, people’s reactions to Mr Collins/Kholi do too. Both of the eldest sisters in the Bennets/Bakshis smirk at each other when he says things and tries to boast about his life, this shows they are sensitive and intelligent enough to realise how stupid Mr Collins/Kholi is. Mr Bennet/Bakshi realises this too but expresses his amusement in different ways. Mr Bennet makes sarcastic comments towards Mr Collins to show him up but Mr Collins does not understand, Mr Bakshi however uses facial expressions to make fun of him. This reflects the characters of Mr Bennet and Mr Bakshi, Mr Bennet takes a more serious approach where Mr Bakshi uses childish gestures. Furthermore Bollywood has also made a change with the reaction of Darcy when he meets Mr Kholi. In the BBC adaptation Mr Collins introduces himself to Darcy and talks about his self, Darcy walks away and ignores him in contrast, Darcy is introduced to Mr Kholi and does not ignore him. As shown by Mr Bennet and Mr Bakshi this is a reflection of Darcy’s characters, Darcy in the BBC adaptation is confident enough to be able to walk away but Darcy in the Bollywood adaptation is not, as he is a country he does not know he is polite to everyone. The reaction of people towards Mr Collins/Kholi reveals a lot about his character; he is someone who tries to be popular by knowing everyone and likes to be well thought of.
One relationship, which has been adapted and changed considerably, is the Lydia/Lucky relationship. Adapted for Bollywood are a number of scenes where the main action takes place. In the BBC adaptation the scenes take place after Wickham and Lydia have eloped and are living in a grotty bedsit, this has changed for Bollywood and is replaced by scenes in public places e.g. fairground, cinema and the main scene where Lucky and Wickham go out for the day in London. The scene has been changed for Bollywood because Lucky and Wickham are not actually together yet and it is the lead up for Lucky finding out eventually who Wickham really is after pursuit by Darcy and Lalita. This change has been made for the viewer to look at their relationship in two different ways, in the BBC adaptation Lydia and Wickham have to stay in bedsit which is far form luxury, this shows how their relationship is very shameful in the 19th century. In contrast to this Lucky and Wickham meet at very public places, their relationship seems very open and would not be seen wrong in the public nor the viewer’s eye, but the viewer understands Wickham is a bad man.
The use of media effects in both adaptations is strong. The camera effects in both adaptations are similar, in the BBC adaptation medium shots and close ups are used to give the viewer a more intimate view of Lydia and Wickham. It shows shots of Lydia running around the bedsit and close ups of Wickham’s facial expressions to the viewer to tell them he is not happy about the situation. In the Bollywood adaptation the camera plays a very important part in the chase that occurs between Wickham, Lucky, Lalita and Darcy. The camera use close ups and medium shots of the couples, and glances between the two parties. It also uses close ups of Wickham glancing back to see if they are still being chased. The camera follows Lucky and Wickham but blurs out the background to give the viewer an impression of how easily it would be to lose them in a crowd. The lighting effect in the BBC adaptation gives the atmosphere of a dark room and uses underlighting, the only available light source the viewer can see is the daylight coming through the window. Two different types of lighting is used in the Bollywood adaptation however, the first toplighting used in the chase to create a bright, modern setting for the viewer. This contrast however when Lucky and Wickham go into the cinema, the lighting is backlighting from the cinema screen and also presents to the audience that Wickham is trying to hide.
Costume has also been changed considerably, the BBC adaptation use typical dress for the 19th century but change it from formal wear to very inappropriate wear in the bedsit. Lydia wears a nightdress and Wickham stays in his uniform but un-tucked his shirt and his boots are undone, this is to represent the seediness of their relationship and how wrong it was in the 19th century. Lucky and Wickham are the same in that Lucky tries to rebel against her Indian culture, like the rules set out in the 19th century, in the scene where Lucky and Lydia meet in London she wears tight jeans and a cropped top and makes no effort to show her Indian roots. Wickham also wears clothes that are very casual and he looks like a traveller, this is in contrast to Darcy’s clothes which are smart, and reveals that Wickham may not be the good character as seen by Lalita and Lucky. The costumes in both adaptations have been translated to represent the character in the same way but to show the change in different cultures and times. Lydia and Lucky wear clothes seen as normal and traditional but try to show their flirty ways by tighter clothes but in other scenes they rebel completely. In Lydia’s case she wears a very inappropriate nightdress and Lucky wears modern, tight clothes. It is the same for Wickham too; Wickham is always put in as the opposite of Darcy who is very formal unlike Wickham who wears an officer uniform or traveller’s clothes, this is also to show Wickham is not like Darcy and a bad character. Bollywood have adapted Wickham to become a traveller to be a modern representation of the BBC Wickham who becomes an officer because he has no money.
In the scenes of Lydia/Lucky and Wickham the audience can see a lot about their character. Lydia and Lucky both are flirtatious, young girls who are unaware of consequences of their actions; this is displayed through Lydia’s obsession of the officers and her elopement and Lydia through her constant attention seeking of Wickham. Wickham also plays the handsome man well in both adaptations, his rough look in contrast to Darcy should also tell the viewer he is not as he seems.
There are many things left out of the Bollywood adaptation that are in the BBC one. In the Bollywood adaptation we see Lucky and Wickham develop a relationship and meet up on occasions, this does not happen with the BBC as Lydia and Wickham, by chance, meet in Brighton and make a quick decision. This is to show the change in times and controversy of what Lydia and Wickham did, also it is not believable that Lucky and Wickham would have gone to London on just one meeting. The chase of lucky and Wickham also adds to the tension and thrill for the audience, this makes the viewer think, will they be caught?
There is also one major difference between the BBC and Bollywood adaptation, the ending. In the BBC adaptation Darcy pays Wickham to Marry Lydia and therefore not bringing shame on the Bennets, in the Bollywood adaptation Wickham and Lydia are caught by Darcy and Lalita and Wickham is seen for the real man he is. This has been changed for the Bollywood adaptation for the happy ending that happens in Bollywood films, it would not be entirely like a Bollywood film if Lucky ended up with the bad man and not be happy.
In conclusion the BBC and Bollywood adaptations of Pride and Prejudice have been made very differently. The title of the Bollywood adaptation has been changed to Bride and Prejudice to reflect the difference in the Indian culture, the main personality of the characters have stayed the same in both adaptations, costumes have been changed to reflect the difference in cultures and times yet kept so the characters traits can be seen, the contrast in settings shows the different countries and a different way in life and the change in the storyline reflects the difference in times, countries and culture.
The setting of the story has been changed as the film wants to show the restrictions on 19th century marriage still coincide with the Indian view on marriages today, the characters traits were kept the same to show how they could be brought into the present day but changed slightly in their costumes, mannerisms and they way people see them. As the characters are represented through their costumes, the wealth of the families is too, the costumes have been changed in the Bollywood adaptation to traditional Indian costumes but they show the contrast to the expensive clothes of the Balraj sister compared to the Bakshi sisters. This is also the same for the Bingley sister and Bennet sisters in the BBC adaptation.
I preferred the Bollywood adaptation. This is because it is not as serious as the BBC adaptation; it is more vibrant, colourful and loud. The singing and dancing breaks up the film and the comedy also puts more life into the story. The BBC adaptation is too long and does not keep my attention as much as the other. Another reason why I preferred the Bollywood adaptation was the costumes and new surroundings, the Indian culture is very bold and this made it more enjoyable to watch.