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The second film from the Merchant-Ivory-Jhabvala collaboration: despite occasional longueurs, a hauntingly funny, rather Chekhovian piece about a group of English-led travelling players stoutly striving to keep Shakespeare alive in India long after the Raj has gone. Loosely inspired by the experiences of the Kendal family, who here recreate parts of their Shakespearean repertory, it was shot by Ray's cameraman Subrata Mitra, has a fine score by Ray himself, and at its best has much of Ray's quizzical charm. Dialogue and performances, though, tend towards the stilted; and although Felicity Kendal and Shashi Kapoor aren't bad as the young lovers parted not so much by the racial divide as by character and circumstance, Madhur Jaffrey runs away with all prizes as an outrageously arrogant Indian movie queen further spurred by jealousy.

By: TM

Release details

Duration: 125 mins

Cast and crew

Director: James Ivory
Screenwriter: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, James Ivory
Cast: Felicity Kendal
Shashi Kapoor
Geoffrey Kendal
Laura Liddell
Madhur Jaffrey
Utpal Dutt
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