We're back in India in the wake of the Raj, flitting from the bazaars of Kerala to the lush manse of an English family, the Macintoshes, whom we meet as they are inadvisedly adding to their number. The child is premature, the unhappy mother, Lily (Scacchi), won't lactate, and it takes the intervention of Jaffrey's nurse, Cotton Mary, to keep the newborn alive. A proud Anglo-Indian, Mary jumps at Lily's offer of domestic work; and, while her new employers are otherwise distracted, she inveigles her way into the heart of their household. The story might be meant to symbolise the problem of Anglo-Indian identity with the departure of their British patrons, but on the immediate level it's an impenetrable mess. The characters are frustratingly feeble, witless and ill-drawn, and their motivations range from the opaque to the unintelligible.
Cast and crew
Ismail Merchant, Madhur Jaffrey