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Autobiography of a Princess (1975)

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(as R. Prawer Jhabvala)
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Cyril Sahib
...
The Princess
Keith Varnier ...
Delivery Man
Diane Fletcher ...
Blackmailer
...
Blackmailer
Johnny Stuart ...
Blackmailer
Nazrul Rahman ...
Papa
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Release Date:

December 1975 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Autobiografia di una principessa  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Producer Ismael Merchant pushed for the casting of James Mason from the beginning. Director James Ivory and writer Ruth Prawa Jhabvala resisted while Merchant kept insisting. Sir Michael Redgrave, Sir John Gielgud and Sir Ralph Richardson were offered the lead male part of Cyril Sahib but were unavailable. According to Ivory: "Finally he just cast it. He sent Mason the script and he cast him anyway. When we heard about it, we were very alarmed, but from the first moment that Mason worked on the film, he was perfection. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Wandering Company (1984) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Clueless...
18 August 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I found this short film by Merchant-Ivory to be quite interesting. While it's not abounding with action and is basically a slow two-person film, it explores the sense of entitlement and cluelessness among the ruling elite of pre-independence India. The film consists of an ex-princess living in a London flat (Madhur Jaffrey) having a quiet reunion dinner with her dead father's old secretary (James Mason) on the birthday of her father. Mostly, Mason is rather subdued and quiet as the Jaffrey talks and talks. Then, after the pleasantries, she shows him old film of her father and discusses his life and legacy. For the most part, the princess is REALLY clueless and whines a bit about how sad it is times have changed--not acknowledging the widespread poverty and inequity of the old system. In a land of hunger and privation, you see the old ruler on hunting expeditions and playing polo. And, in a few sick cases, folks died serving him and Jaffrey lives under the illusion that he was good to 'his people'. Fascinating and ample proof that an autocratic system is morally bankrupt and clueless--insisting that within their hearts, the Indian people STILL love them (despite having driven them from the country!). A fascinating little portrait but clearly not a film for everyone.


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