Thursday, October 27, 2011

SHATRANJ KE KHILARI (1977) - URDU


If we are engrossed in one thing then it's good not to think of anything else.

I could have easily written that the language is Hindi, since the milieu of the story is from Lucknow and is mostly in Urdu and partly in English, I gave it accordingly. In terms of language, this fim is very unlike of any other Satyajit Ray film as most are Bengali. But in terms of authenticity it has surely Ray's vision and is up there to match up the standards.

Set in 1856 Lucknow, the story is about the last king of Awadh, it questions the ethnicity and the political will of the then british empire. Played by Amjad Khan who brings out a fine performance and in fact all the performances are just in place even the one scene of Farooq Sheikh where he gives a blank expression is also done very well.  I loved every actor here but Amjad Khan stood out for me as the fat bumpy king who is oblivious to everything apart from his personal indulgences.

Shot exquisitely simply in comparison to any period film, the film is very strong in drama and holds you to see if war will happen and it may disappoint you if you expected it to be a movie on freedom struggle. The pathos that the movie evokes does not bring tears to eyes but brings thoughts to minds, wasn't british so much better than such kings. 

Munshi Premchand, on whose story the movie was based is in fact one of the most sarcastic writers in hindi and his sarcasm is hidden, he laughs at a society that lives in oblivion and disowns everything but self interest. 

Coming to the title, it's very symbolic if there are two games that will make you forget everything else and will become an addiction the they are the playing card games or chess and this is what symbolises, our two main story tellers are addicted so much that even though there is a british army walking to capture Awadh, they play chess under the tree.

It's simple yet strong and very daunting memory of Satyajit Memory may be with you for a long time to come. 

It's 3/5 that is good. Our master Satyajit ray made many better movies

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