Dec 26, 2008

Colonial Conceit...

I'd rate Pride and Prejudice (2005 version) to be one of the finest movies ever made, not just for depicting an epic love story with a steadfast screenplay that captured most of the compelling narratives and conversational nuances of the book, thereby limning the quintessence of the truly outstanding classic that it is, but also for portraying medieval England naked, and yet beautiful - from its head to heels - from the 18th century English dance to the countryside gossip, the horse chariot to paper-ink-pen, English breakfast to the study, the ladies gowns to the men's boots.... and of course the ostentatious English pride...

The English are supposedly proud folks...not just the Knights and the Dames, but every English butler and governess was known to be proud."The Sun never sets in the British empire" is a well-known anthem that aptly delineates their pride...And honestly, they had every reason to be...They'd ruled almost half of the globe, they've given us some of the best literature of the world - Wordsworth or Shakespeare, Milton or Keats, and they'd produced some of the most abundant guns, germs and steel than many other continents...

Indians are a proud bunch as well, not just proud of our rich and varied heritage (you know where I plagiarized this phrase from - Our National pledge that we were supposed to rote-memorize in kindergarten), but also proud of our culture and literature..A parallel inspection of the customs of the peoples is baffling in its abundance of similarity, yet dearth of congruence..I find Mrs Bennet (mother of five daughters who cannot think of anything else but marrying them off to filthy rich gentlemen in Pride and Prejudice) so similar to Vadivamba (mother of Mohana, who wants her daughter to get married to the best men in town in Thillana Mohanambal) and Lady Catherine (the rich and arrogant English Dame who uses her power and influence to fix marriages in her favor in Pride and Prejudice) so similar to Madanpur Maharaja (the affluent king who uses his authority to allure Mohana in Thillana Mohanmbal) . The medeival English obeisance and the erstwhile Indian greeting of namaskaram, the English womenfolk gossip and the Indian wedding gossips /complaints, the English afternoon tea and the Indian evening filter kaapi, Hamlet's soliloquay "To be or Not to Be" by Shakespeare and Hanuman's in Sundara Gandam by Kamban are all nuggets of a parallel study in contrast...

There are definately disparities arising from geographical, climatical and economic differences between the peoples, but yet the similarity is striking...Thats why I love Pride and Prejudice as much as I love Thillana Mohanambal...and I like the English countryside lake as much as I like the Indian pastoral temple kulam..Both instigate poetry in a romantic soul...
But the similarity ends there...I love India more...

I forgot..There's another furtive reason why I'd rate Pride and Prejudice one of the best movies ever made.....I love Mr.Darcy :)

6 comments:

jai said...

:-)

Divya said...

Thats quite a parallel study. Sadly, I dont like English people that much. Not only because they are the proud lot as you have portrayed them, but also because they are ra****! So, is there a parallel to Mr.Darcy? C'mon - India has so many Darcy's.. :)

Charu said...

Hmmm...its really a coincidence but i watched the movie pride and prejudice (again for umpteenth time) right about the same time you wrote this blog..ofcourse ur parallel study never entered my head ;-)

my thoughts went more in the direction of fantasy Vs reality when it comes to romance...neverthless, a really beautiful novel made into an equally good movie...

Lakshmi said...

Yeah,even I have felt the same parallels. I watched P&P last week again. Might be the 30th or 40th time I suppose :) In spite of all the similarities I dont like the English, just as Divya feels.
But all said and done there are no parallels to P&P, be it the book or the movie..and best of all, no parallels to any other Darcy!

simonpdavis said...

Divya - ouch!

srikumar said...
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