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Wednesday, 30 October, 2002, 14:47 GMT
Jane Austen goes to Bollywood
The BBC's Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice was also a hit BBC adaptation
Jane Austen's classic novel Pride and Prejudice is being turned into a Bollywood movie musical, with the Bennett family of Hertfordshire becoming the Bakshi family of India.

The film will be directed by Gurinder Chadha, who made box office hit Bend It Like Beckham, and its story will move between India, the UK and the United States.


This film will combine the spectacular visual extravagance of Bollywood with commercial western storytelling

Gurinder Chadha
Instead of Mr Bingley, the movie will have a British Asian character called Balraj, who studied at Oxford with his friend from the US, Will Darcy.

Ms Chadha told BBC News Online she hoped the film would open Bollywood up to mainstream international audiences.

No actors have been cast, but Ms Chadha said she was in talks with "very exciting" names.

An "all-star" Bollywood cast will back up a lead actor from the US.

The film's plot would remain very close to the original story, she said.

Film director Gurinder Chadha
Chadha: Found mainstream success with Bend It Like Beckham
"That's part of the fun with what we're doing, since the original is so familiar to a lot of people.

"Seeing our script unravel the story in a new contemporary international setting is great fun."

It will be in English to help attract UK and US audiences, and filming will start in March 2003.

"This film will combine the spectacular visual extravagance of Bollywood with commercial western storytelling," Ms Chadha added.

Ms Chadha found mainstream success with Bend It Like Beckham, which became one of the surprise hits of the summer.

It centred on a British Asian girl who dreamt about becoming a professional footballer, and it took almost 12m at UK box offices.

Ambitious

Ms Chadha has previously shown her ability to appeal across cultural divides with 1993's acclaimed Bhaji on the Beach.

But Pride and Prejudice is her most ambitious project yet, and will be her first Bollywood-style film.

Originally written in the late 18th Century, Pride and Prejudice, with its bonnets and social straight-jackets, is seen by many as the epitome of Englishness.

In 2001, it was reported that it was also being turned into an Asian drama for UK television.

See also:

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07 Jun 01 | Entertainment
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