Ebert & Roeper: “Bride” looks lovely

Reviews for “Bride & Prejudice” are starting to trickle in, and none are more integral to the film’s box office prospects than the bi-directional thumbs of critics Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper

The verdict? Two thumbs up.

If you weren’t able to watch the show last weekend, here’s a brief recap:

: Go see this on the big screen. You need to fully appreciate the vibrant colors and the great music.
: Oh, I loved it too and I’ve seen a lot of Bollywood movies in recent years. They combine everything. And I have to admit, Aishwarya Rai has your eyes.
: Fo’ real? Whenever Gurinder Chadha waddles into a screening, I can’t help but think of you.
: Let’s make out.
: Okay.

Aw’ yeah, how’s that for some romantic diction? Sure, that recap might contain some inconsistencies or entire fabrications, but you get the gist. If you want to hear the real review, click here to download the MP3 (size: 250 KB). It’s worth the time, if just to hear the entertaining pair debate the placement of Rai on their list of most beautiful women in the world. (Roeper has her at #17; Ebert at #1).

“Bride & Prejudice” opens on February 11.

Sepia Mutiny: Fisking the “Bride and Prejudice” campaign; “Bride and Prejudice” postponed to February; The New York Times on “Bride and Prejudice”; Gurinder Chadha on her “Bride and Prejudice”

17 thoughts on “Ebert & Roeper: “Bride” looks lovely

  1. I remain conflicted about Western reviews about Indian/Bollywood flics. On one hand the press is great – finally Americans are embracing difference and expanding their cultural horizons. But is it healthy?

    I watched the aforementioned Siskel and Ebert episode, and remember thinking to myself – could they be more guilty of unabashed exoticization? Seriously, would it be possible for a Bollywood movie, especially one featuring the beauteous Aishwarya with her heavily lined eyes and shy, girlish demure, bomb in the US?

    I mean, all the wonderful colors, dance, and beautiful submissive women – what else could a White American man ask for in a movie?

    Of course Bollywood itself deserves to be criticized for actively perpetuating gender hierarchies in its movies. That remains left to be commented upon later. For now, I just wanted to focus on the damaging affects these movies might have when viewed by Western [male] eyes.

    Any thoughts?

  2. Well, in Ebert’s defense, he is pretty equal opportunity about exoticizing all women he finds remotely attractive. He’s given many lousy movies a lot of allowances because they star the likes of Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Roberts, and even Brittany Murphy.

    Also, it’s very possible that a Bollywood movie could completely flop in the US, even if it features “beautiful submissive women.” All the “wonderful colors” and “dance” could very easily be interpreted as “the other” by American audiences, and that could translate to very little box office.

    Finally, this is not a “Bollywood” film per se, given that the filmmaker, Gurinder Chadha, is not a Bollywood insider. This is her interpretation of a Bollywood film. So in that sense, you already have “Western” eyes involved in the making of the movie.

  3. I saw their review. In Ebert’s defense, he has been to India, and seen films in Indian theaters geared towards Indian, not Western audiences, and still enjoyed them. (Can’t say that I do) So he realizes that cross-cultural comedies are not accurate depictions of any culture. After all, how many Greeks have you met that behave like those in My Big Fat Greek Wedding?

    Personally, I think the “white knight” aspect appeals to the overwhelmingly white male demo that is the movie reviewer cartel. I’m gonna stick to my initial prediction – that B&P is going to do poorly at the North American box office. “Bend it Like Beckham” owed its success more to teenage girls who play soccer than to American’s new-found affinity for all things Punjabi

  4. I guess I remain a bit skeptical – I agree with what has been said – white knights increase ratings as do beautiful women generally – but I do think that Indian movies, Bollywood or not deserve more focused attention. The fact that Ebert has visited India and seen multiple Hindi films, at least I don’t think, should excuse him from scrutiny. For two reasons – first, it would require me to condone the behavior of all the drug-induced hippies that spend their lives backpacking around India “soaking” up indigenous culture (you don’t even need to go that far – just think about Bill Clinton’s comments about Indian women). And second, Hindi films, not initially meant for western eyes, are now available for mass consumption, and are doing pretty well – at least in various pockets around the US. I just wonder if it is having a further detrimental effect on the way in which Indian women are perceived here.

    It is very possible that the movie could do poorly in the Box office – but box office stats are indicative of the reception nation-wide, which includes areas (admittedly most of the US) that remains generally in the dark. Laagan did surprisingly well, if I remember correctly – even if it didn’t catapult to #1, its influence was apparent.

  5. Ya know, one of the reasons I liked Dil Chahta Hai so much was the relationship between the older woman and the younger man (well, duh, of course you would) which is so unusual for a typical Bollywood flick. And the sympathy it showed for a woman who was divorced and, uh, also, funnily enough a drinker. So maybe it wasn’t that sympathetic after all.

    And, she paid the price in the end didn’t she? Well, nothing’s perfect. Even Jane Eyre couldn’t have Mr. Rochester whole and perfect. He had to pay, too.

    Ok, that’s enough arcana and meandering around the point for me. B & P will probably do horribly, but I’m still going to see it. And I think Roeper is kinda smarmy; Ebert a good writer and empathetic.

  6. I saw the movie last week…while I was a fan of the dialogue, cinematography, editing, and plotline of G.C.’s Bend It Like Beckham, Bride & Prejudice is a disappointment…

    Pleasantly, Aish isn’t the submissive woman you would predict, but the film tries to do way too much towards the end…the film spends a lot of time re-developing the same character traits over and over, and in the final 30 minutes, finds itself trying to tie up way too many loose ends…it tries to quickly make sense of multiple plotlines that leave the viewer wondering “where the hell did THAT come from??…”

    …although I can stomach Bollywood stars lip-syncing to flawless songs, asking me to tolerate Aish singing broadway tunes is more than any man (or amateur movie critic) could handle…

    The concept is good – just not exexuted well in this firm…there is one bright spot though – Nitin Ganatra- as Mr.Koli, your resident DCBA, is hilarious…

    And, for those who aren’t aware of it – Martin Henderson (the male lead, Will Darcy) was also Clay Ford in “Torque”…

  7. just think about Bill Clinton’s comments about Indian women

    I missed those comments, recap please?

    Martin Henderson (the male lead, Will Darcy) was also Clay Ford in “Torque”…

    As Ms. World said, Martin Henderson gives John Corbett (the guy in My Big Fat Greek Wedding) a run for most boring white guy on earth.

  8. Roger Ebert is or was married to a Black woman which might point to a colored woman fever issue. Back on the topic- I hope the movie does well in the U.S. I like Gurinder Chandas work. Shes my kinda gal. But the film isnt anything likeBend it like Beckhamor aDil Chahta Haibut hell it isnt the Bride of Chucky either.

    I thought Nitin was tha bomb in those American flag thong underwear. He seemed to be packing some heat too!

    Martin Henderson adds nothing to the movie. Marsha Mason and that chick from the Gilmore Girls are in it to.

  9. Does anyone know which LA theatre will be hosting the red carpet premiere? I was hoping to go and do some “star” gazing. I’ve been trying to find out about the premiere but have failed at every turn.

  10. Yeah, Carrie made a big mistake ditching Aidan.

    I saw the preview for B & P, and call me judgmental, but it looked like a steaming pile of doo.

  11. Unfortunately no ones going to be replacing Pauline Kael; and since Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel reviews were geared towards the lay man..who’s cares what they say…

  12. Why cannot any Western or white man like a woman of a different color without being accused of exoticisation? It seems like when there is nothing to hate, we go around looking for reasons to. As a former Ms. World, Aishwarya Rai is considered beautiful by most standards. What is wrong in saying so?

  13. It’s just a movie. This theme of the knight and shining armour is not limited to the white male. It is in movies in all cultures including American films. Not sure why the previous writer is making such a big deal. I thought the movie was good for a romantic comedy. It was cheezy at times but it was funny. I think the purpose of the movie was to provide a few laught. It wasn’t intended to be a documentary. I think Aishwara Rai did a good job. I give it thumbs up as well.

  14. Saw the movie a couple of weeks ago. Well-enough executed, but probably won’t be big here because Americans who go to see those jolly brown people singing and dancing in glittery costumes will be surprised and irritated at the accusation of being “imperialists.” They don’t realize that Masala or Masala-style movies can incorporate (however well or clumsily) serious social or political elements as well.

    On top of that, the charges against American feelings of superiority are not done well enough to force the American audience to think about them. So I think the movie will not go over well here. Nor may some NRI’s care for the glib stereotypes about them.

    More importantly, there are all sorts of complications in basing the movie on “Pride and Prejudice.” The original story is a clear-cut class commentary and with this cross-cultural recast Chadha has to deal with the additional race/colonial issues inevitably brought in by the white hero initially looking down on the Indian heroine and her community. Complicated to do that and retain the simplistic “feel-good” romantic movie she was going for, and in fact I believe she failed to do so. (It is always difficult to analyze the often conflated influences of race and economic class.)

    Finally, yes, I think that we are in a phase where Americans do go to Bollywood movies to see “exotic” women and “simple” people enjoying themselves. They think that all there is to a Masala movie is singing, dancing, and weddings. The fad may be digested quickly and forgotten, or gradually the view of Masala movies over here may be deepened as time goes on. In this moment, I see condescension being involved in Americans’ approach to Bollywood. The ones who like the movies see them as simple fun produced by and for a simple people, and the ones who don’t like the movies look down on their differing narrative conventions, oblivious to Hollywood’s own often simplistic narrative conventions.

  15. It’s funny because Ms. Rai looks nothing like an Indian woman. Maybe India’s hardest attempt to produce a western looking star. She seems to me an imatation of the real thing, a white woman. Stand her next to a white woman with light eyes and no one will look in her direction.