British critics pan 'Bride...' as mushy, silly
Gurinder Chadha's "Bride & Prejudice" has opened to lukewarm response in Britain this week as film critics panned it as something of a disappointment that cannot be viewed as a crossover film.
Non-Asians were among the audiences for the first shows of the film but went away disappointed with the mushy, saccharine-like portrayal of Indian family life.
Peter Bradshaw wrote in The Guardian that "Bride & Prejudice" is appreciably less warmly convincing than Chadha's earlier, realistic Britain-set films "Bhaji on the Beach" and "Bend It Like Beckham".
He wrote: "Those were very different sorts of films, of course, but 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, 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.
"She gave us the Bride. But where was the Prejudice?"
For Sukhdev Sandhu writing in The Telegraph, the lyrics of the songs set to tune by Anu Malik were a disappointment.
"This yo-yoing is interspersed with Bollywood-style numbers whose music, composed by Anu Malik, is fine, but whose lyrics by Zoya Akhtar and Farhan Akhtar are the kind of mushy schmaltz one would expect to hear Celine Dion yodel at a Las Vegas casino".
Writing in the Birmingham Post, Mike Davies recalled that every so often a film came along that is supposedly going to make the big crossover between Bollywood and mainstream audiences.
"However, while 'Asoka', 'Monsoon Wedding' and 'The Guru' have all enjoyed relative success (though the latter really only appropriated Bollywoodisms for a Western narrative), nothing has yet captured the market in the same the way as 'Bollywood Dreams' has managed on stage.
"But if anyone was going to be in with a shot of pulling it off, then, following the massive international success of 'Bend It Like Beckham', Gurinder Chadha would surely seem the most likely.
"Sad to report then that her cultural transposition update of Jane Austen's novel is something of a disappointment, sacrificing the original's observations of class, formality and social mores for colourful flamboyance and silly comedy".
The Coventry Evening Telegraph said the film's production design was glorious and gave the film a four star rating.
David Edwards wrote in The Mirror that the film succeeds as a musical sitcom.
"The only missteps are the performances of Henderson, who's so drippy he should be carried around in a bucket, and the charmless Gillies. The script, co-written by Gurinder's hubby, is also a bit dull, rather like a poppadom without the lime pickle".