Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB
USA, 1970. Merchant Ivory Productions. Screenplay by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, James Ivory. Cinematography by Subrata Mitra. Produced by Ismail Merchant. Music by Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal, Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi. Production Design by A. Rangaraj. Costume Design by Hassan Sheikh. Film Editing by David Gladwell.
Colourful tribute to the world of Bollywood filmmaking and an early effort from the team of Merchant Ivory, who have since gone on to gain world-renowned attention.
A flighty British writer (Jennifer Kendal) goes to India in search of new inspiration and becomes smitten with a handsome young movie star (Shashi Kapoor, Kendal’s real-life husband). This does not make Kapoor’s wife particularly happy, but Kendal is only really interested in her own pleasure.
When things turn sour, she goes on a hilariously wry quest for spiritual enlightenment at an ashram with a ping-pong playing guru.
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s screenplay lacks motivation, but James Ivory’s direction is solid and the cinematography and music are wonderful. The too-few musical numbers are enjoyable, punctuated by an appearance by legendary dancer Helen.