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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...

THE MUSIC ROOM

This film was made between the second and third parts of the Apu trilogy. Where the trilogy shows the gradual breaking up of the simple traditional family life and religion, and their replacement by ... 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 »

THE STRANGER

... ... The great Indian director Satyajit Ray died in April, shortly after receiving an Oscar for his lifetime achievements. His last film,The Stranger, is a deceptively simple but affecting moral ... 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 »

APARAJITO

In the second part of the Apu trilogy, we find Harihar, his wife, Sarbojaya, and their son, Apu, in the holy city of Benares. Here, the father ekes out a living by reading the scriptures; when he ... More »

WORLD OF APU

So much has already been written about Pather Panchali and Aparajito that Ray's trilogy was destined for classic status even before the release of the third instalment, and the various influences ... More »

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