Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1965. Merchant Ivory Productions. Screenplay by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, James Ivory. Cinematography by Subrata Mitra. Produced by Ismail Merchant. Music by Satyajit Ray. Costume Design by Jennifer Kendal. Film Editing by Amit Bose. National Board Of Review Awards 1966.
A troupe of English actors, led by a mother, father and daughter (played by real-life family Geoffrey Kendal, Laura Liddell and Felicity Kendal) travel through India performing classic Shakespeare plays for gradually dwindling audiences. Their popularity has waned so much in recent years that they have begun to consider the possibility of packing up and returning to England, a country that they haven’t been to since before their daughter was born. Complicating matters is a romance between the young lady and a rich Indian playboy (Shashi Kapoor, in real life Felicity’s brother-in-law) and the jealousy of his Bombay movie queen cousin (a rich performance by Madhur Jaffrey). Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s intelligent screenplay uses the rejection of the troupe as a reflection of India’s burgeoning independence from colonial British influence, and James Ivory directs with class and gets terrific performances from everyone involved.