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I really enjoyed this movie. Two disparate people - one, an American art collector (Larry Pine), the other, an elderly but spry British woman (Peggy Ashcroft) who represents a British museum - arrive at a Maharaja's palace in Jodhpur, India and commence a sort of cat-and-mouse competition for the privilege to purchase a large, and apparently quite valuable, collection of old paintings which are in the Maharaja's possession -- a collection which, it seems, the Maharaja may not even be interested in selling.
Apparently it was made for TV, so it wasn't exactly what you would call "big budget," and yet I found it to be a rich feast of images of at least one part of India, both past and present. The scenery in and around the Maharaja's palace (filmed on location at Umaid Bhavan Palace in Jodhpur, India) was quite fascinating. In addition to authentic sets and scenery, there was lots of interesting Indian music, playing not only in the background but also in the "foreground," in the form of a few colorful dance sequences.
For a movie that's scarcely a little more than eighty minutes in length, I thought it held riches galore. The aforementioned scenery and music are only part of the rich tapestry found herein. The plot becomes a bit complex, but in a playful and gently comic manner, so you start to feel good as the story rolls along. The ending has a nice resolution to everything, and leaves you feeling good inside.
The actual paintings, what little we see of them, are quite wondrous, and are probably worth the proverbial price of admission.
Good performances all around, with a very literate script penned by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. Of note is the teaming of Victor Banerjee, Peggy Ashcroft, and Saeed Jaffrey, all of whom would later appear together in 1984's "A Passage to India." Also look for a very compelling performance by Aparna Sen, who plays the Maharaja's intelligent, beautiful - and frustrated - sister, Bonnie.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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