The story of a family troupe of English actors in India. They travel around the towns and villages giving performances of Shakespearean plays. Through their travels we see the changing face... See full summary »
The story of a family troupe of English actors in India. They travel around the towns and villages giving performances of Shakespearean plays. Through their travels we see the changing face of India as the old is replaced by the new, Maharajas become hotel owners, sports become more important than culture and the theater is replaced by Bolliwood movies. Based on the travels of Geoffrey Kendal with his daughter Felicity Kendal. Written by
Steve Crook <email@example.com>
I think your background will greatly influence how much you enjoy this rather wistful film.
"Shakespeare-Wallah" is a rather wistful view of the last remaining vestiges of British India. The film is set less than two decades after the independence of India and follows a small company of British expatriates who travel this huge nation putting on Shakespearean productions. The problem is that with the British Empire a thing of the past, interest in India in Shakespeare has clearly waned and the new king of entertainment, Bollywood, is contrasted in the film. It's all a bit sad for some to look at these people desperately trying to hold on to the past--though others, such as modern Indians, might look at things VERY differently. As for this American, it's a strange film as you are looking at a movie that glamorizes the past--a past folks in my country cannot relate to nor appreciate. My guess is that this film (directly, oddly, by an American, James Ivory) would be much greater appreciated by older Brits who can remember when India was the crown jewel, so they said, of the Empire.
As for the quality of the film, the acting and direction are good though the pace and subject matter of the film left me flat. Not a bad film but a far cry from the beautiful Merchant-Ivory productions to come. I did notice that the style of the film and focus on more ordinary folks was reminiscent of the films of Satyajit Ray and not like the more contemporary Indian musical we've come to expect from this nation.
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