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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Austen on the (Indian) small screen

More international Jane Austen: an Indian TV channel is launching a show “based loosely” on Sense and Sensibility. (Not to be confused, I take it, with the Tamil-language film from 2000, Kandukondain Kandukondain (I Have Found It), which is based not-so-loosely on S&S.)

This is at least the third Indian film update of an Austen novel – in addition to I Have Found It, there’s the entertaining Bride and Prejudice (2005), based on you-know -what; and the execrable Aisha (2010), a Bollywood Emma. I hope some enterprising dissertation-writer will soon address the question of why Indians -- or, at least, Indian film- and TV-viewers -- so enjoy Austen. Is it the persistence in modern Indian culture of Austen-like traditional social attitudes? The prevalence of assigned Austen texts in the British-based educational system? The lack of on-stage kissing? The footnotes practically write themselves.

Meanwhile, the new show is described as revolving around “a Punjabi matriarch. . .who runs a marriage hall and lives with the hope of seeing her two daughters. . .who're poles apart, happily married some day.” (Marriage hall? Like they said – loosely based.)

“It's a story of passionate love that anyone with a soul would be able to easily relate to,” promises the rather breathless preview that showed up on my Google alert this weekend. I’ll be waiting for the Netflix version. . .

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