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The Chess Players (1977)
"Shatranj Ke Khilari" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Comedy, Drama, History  |  3 October 1977 (India)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 1,917 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 22 critic

Wazed Ali Shah is the ruler of one of the last independent kingdoms of India. The British, intent on controlling this rich country, have sent general Outram on a secret mission to clear the... See full summary »

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(story) (as Premchand) , (dialogue), 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sanjeev Kumar ...
Mirza Sajjad Ali
...
Mir Roshan Ali
...
Khurshid, Mirza's wife
Farida Jalal ...
Nafisa, Mir's wife
Veena ...
Queen Mother
David Abraham ...
Munshi
...
Prime Minister (as Victor Bannerji)
Farooq Shaikh ...
Aqueel (as Farooque Shaikh)
Tom Alter ...
Capt. Weston (Outram's aide de camp)
Leela Mishra ...
Hirya, Khurshid's maid
Barry John
Samarth Narain ...
Kallu
Bhudo Advani ...
Abbajani (as Budho Advani)
Kamu Mukherjee ...
(as Kamu Mukherji)
Uttamram Nagar
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Storyline

Wazed Ali Shah is the ruler of one of the last independent kingdoms of India. The British, intent on controlling this rich country, have sent general Outram on a secret mission to clear the way for an annexation. While pressure is mounting amidst intrigue and political manoeuvres, Ali Shah composes poems and listens to music, secluded in his palace. The court is of no help, as exemplified by nobles Mir and Mirza, who, ignoring the situation of their country and all their duties towards their families, spend their days playing endless parties of chess. Written by Eduardo Casais <eduardo.casais@research.nokia.com>

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Genres:

Comedy | Drama | History

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

3 October 1977 (India)  »

Also Known As:

O Jogador de Xadrez  »

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User Reviews

 
Checkmate? You better check your wife, mate!
29 May 2010 | by (Earth) – See all my reviews

Shatranj Ke Khilari is Sayajit Ray's first Hindi movie. It is, though a bit too slow at points, special, different, comic, and as a result unusually entertaining. This satirical drama is humorous, interesting and impressive, and Ray's direction is excellent. It is evidently well invested, with glossy sets and costumes. The writing is superb, with the brilliantly-written dialogues surpassing the storyline itself, and the culture and the atmosphere of those times is captured exceedingly well. All these aspects, along with the music composed by Ray and the fantastic narration of Amitabh Bachchan, create an engagingly artistic and poetic piece. Ray casts some of the most talented leading actors from the Hindi film industry, all of whom suit their roles and do a wonderful job. Amjad Khan is great as Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. Sanjeev Kumar and Saeed Jaffrey are exceptional as the chess-obsessed noblemen, who ironically indulge in ceaseless chess playing while showing minimal interest in the state of their marriages, wives and even their nation. Shabana Azmi and Farida Jalal play their neglected wives, and they excel in their very tiny roles (each has only a few minutes on-screen). Azmi is convincing as the frustrated Khurshid and Jalal is awesome as the unfaithful wife who has an affair with her husband's nephew Aqueel. Richard Attenbrough and Victor Banerjee provide great support. Shatranj Ke Khilari is a nice little film. It is not among the very best of Ray, but it is certainly a worthy picture and of the most strikingly unique films of those times.


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