Skip to main content

THE CHESS PLAYERS

India, 1977 (MIFF 1978)

Director: Satyajit Ray

This is Satyajit Ray's first film with Hindi and English dialogue. It is also his first historical film, set in mid-nineteenth century India. It is based on a short story by Munshi Premchand.

Two Nawabs, Mirza and Meer, are chess addicts in Lucknow. They play out their repeated battles, ignoring the needs of their wives and their country. The East India Company is attempting to bring their province under British rule in order to enlarge the Company's future profits. Orders are sent to the British Resident, General Sir James Outram to extract, on a trumped-up pretext, the abdication of the local king, Wajid Ali Shah.

Meanwhile the besotted chess players, too absorbed with their game and their personal quarrels, ignore the British troops that are on the move to depose their king.

See also...

DISTANT THUNDER

This is Satyajit Ray's second film in colour, and the Grand Prize winner at the Berlin Festival. The film is set in 1942, and its subject is the impact of war on an isolated Bengali village. ... The ... More »

MAHANAGAR

Turning his back on the nostalgic past, on the lyricism of his earlier films. Satyajit Ray has produced a completely realistic contemporary masterpiece. Its theme is the conflict between the old and ... More »

THE HOME AND THE WORLD

In 1905, in keeping with the 'Divide and Rule' policy of India's British overlords, Lord Curzon (the British Viceroy) proposes splitting Bengal into two separate administrative units, intended to ... More »

THE ELEPHANT GOD

Each new film by Satyajit Ray brings with it fond memories of earlier privileged moments from this master of cinema. Ray has now been at the height of his powers for some years, and his work in the ... More »

KANCHENJUNGHA

The setting for Satyajit Ray's first film in colour is the beautiful hill station of Darjeeling, in the foothills of the Himalayas: a point suspended in time between modern India and the gracious ... More »

Monihara

Monihara, a ghost story based on a tale by Rabmdranath Tagore, is told by a dishevelled teacher to a silent, dark-clad figure on a river bank. Phanibhushan, a rich jute merchant, brings his beautiful ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director