IMDb > Cotton Mary (1999)
Cotton Mary
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Cotton Mary (1999) More at IMDbPro »

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Alexandra Viets (written by)
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Release Date:
17 December 1999 (UK) See more »
A British family is trapped between culture, tradition, and the colonial sins of the past. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Bold Enough to take on a Serious often neglected Subject See more (12 total) »


  (in credits order)

Greta Scacchi ... Lily MacIntosh

Madhur Jaffrey ... Cotton Mary

James Wilby ... John MacIntosh
Sarah Badel ... Mrs Evans
Riju Bajaj ... Mugs
Gerson Da Cunha ... Doctor Correa

Joanna David ... Mrs Smythe
Neena Gupta ... Blossom (Mary's sister)

Sakina Jaffrey ... Rosie

Gemma Jones ... Mrs Freda Davids
Firdausi Jussawalla ... Mr. Panamal
Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal ... Matron
Nadira ... Mattie
Prayag Raj ... Abraham (as Prayag Raaj)
Captain Raju ... Inspector Ramiji Raj
Shobha Vijay ... Ayah 2
Veerendra Saxena ... Joseph (as Virendra Saxena)
Surekha Sikri ... Gwen
Laura Lumley ... Theresa MacIntosh
Matteo Piero Mantegazza ... Baba
Olivia Caesar ... Baba
Kukku Parameshwaram ... Nurse 1 (as Cuckoo Parameswaran)
Beena Manoj ... Nurse 2
Maggie Arthasery ... Nurse 3
Arshia Rafique ... Mira
Vinnie D'Souza ... Guitar player
Chinappa ... Tea Worker
Ashok Koshy ... Tea Worker
Shirly Somasundaram ... Ayah 1
Jaya George ... Ayah 3

Philip Tabor ... Henry Campbell-Jones
Luke Jones ... Charlie

Susan Malick ... Bunny Rogers
Hamza ... Fisherman
Poornima Mohan ... Receptionist
Caroline Charlety ... Stylist
Ranjani Haridas ... Stylist
Gayatri Krishnan ... Stylist
Txuku Iriarte Solana ... Sylvie D'Costa

Directed by
Ismail Merchant 
Madhur Jaffrey (co-director)
Writing credits
Alexandra Viets (written by)

Produced by
Rahila Bootwala .... associate producer
Paul Bradley .... executive producer
Gil Donaldson .... associate producer
Nayeem Hafizka .... producer
Richard Hawley .... producer
Original Music by
Richard Robbins 
Cinematography by
Pierre Lhomme 
Film Editing by
John David Allen 
Casting by
Celestia Fox 
Production Design by
Alison Riva 
Art Direction by
Charmian Adams 
Suresh Sawant (co-art director)
Costume Design by
Sheena Napier 
Makeup Department
Lori Ann Baker .... hair stylist
Lori Ann Baker .... makeup artist (as Lori Baker)
Alexis Fernandez .... assistant hair stylist
Martina Kohl .... hair stylist
Martina Kohl .... key makeup artist
Production Management
John P. Adams .... production manager
Abel Monem .... production in-charge: France
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Rizwan Chowhan .... third assistant director
Richard Hawley .... first assistant director
Luke Jones .... third assistant director
Simon V. Kurian .... first assistant director
Suraj Varma .... second assistant director
Art Department
Sadanand Bhikaji .... carpenter
Amar Dogra .... property master
Barbara Herman-Skelding .... property buyer: England
Mandar Karmarkar .... standby props
Anant Ladge .... carpenter
Joseph Nellikkal .... property assistant (as Joseph Nellickal)
Balkrishna Palkar .... construction assistant
Ashok Panchal .... carpenter
Gajanan Panchal .... carpenter (as Gajanand Panchal)
R.D. Pawar .... painter
Ashok Raut .... carpenter
Dinkar Sawant .... painter
Suresh Sawant .... construction manager
Shahji .... property buyer: India
Rony Thomas .... art department assistant
Abdul Vaid .... carpenter
Debbie Wilson .... property buyer: England (as Deborah Wilson)
Sound Department
Natalie Bayford .... sound assistant
Giovanni Di Simone .... sound
Jamie Graham .... sound trainee
Nina Hartstone .... dialogue editor
John Hayward .... sound re-recording mixer
Nigel Mills .... supervising sound editor
Richard Pryke .... sound re-recording mixer
Steve Sollars .... boom operator (as Steven Sollars)
Robin Whittaker .... foley editor (as Robin Quinn)
Visual Effects by
Martin Body .... optical cameraman
Pat Wong .... digital compositor
John Swinnerton .... compositor: Peerless Camera Company (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Pierre Abraham .... gaffer
Maqsood Ali .... electrical grip
Giri Anchan .... dolly grip
Hamish Doyne-Ditmas .... assistant camera: second unit
Enbadas .... electrical grip
Rambali Mishra .... electrical grip
Sanjay Mishra .... electrical grip
A. Natarajan .... electrical grip
Jake Polonsky .... camera operator
Vishnu Rao .... second assistant camera
Raj Rikhi .... third camera assistant
Gyanchand Rikki .... best boy: A.C. (as Gyanchand Rikhi)
Seth Rubin .... still photographer
Janardhan Rumde .... electrical grip
Bhagwat Satkar .... electrical grip
Jean-Pierre Supe .... first assistant camera
Maruti Thakur .... electrical grip
Mukesh Waghela .... electrical grip
Mannilal Waghla .... key grip (as Manilal Waghela)
Animation Department
Andrea Adams .... animator
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Flora Avery .... assistant costume designer
Urmilla Lal Motwani .... wardrobe supervisor
Shahnaz Vahanvaty .... associate costume designer
Shahnaz Vahanvaty .... costume designer: associate
Editorial Department
Paul Clegg .... assistant editor
Jason Costelloe .... assistant editor
Giorgio De Vincenzo .... associate editor
Jonathan Kaye .... assistant editor
Jack Tucker .... associate editor
Music Department
Geoff Alexander .... music arranger (as Geoffrey Alexander)
Nick Harris .... assistant music engineer
Robert Ireland .... music editor
Harry Rabinowitz .... conductor
L. Subramaniam .... composer: additional music
L. Subramaniam .... musician: violin
Kirsty Whalley .... music engineer
Other crew
Siraj Bharapurwala .... production assistant
Vinaya Chandran .... production assistant
Caroline Charlety .... production assistant
Gillean Dickie .... production coordinator: UK
Amitabh Ghosh .... key production assistant
Richard Hawley .... North American Distribution Executive
Karim Kadi .... production assistant (as Karim Kazi)
Faiza Khan .... production assistant
Sunil Kirparam .... production controller
Mahadev Mhaske .... production assistant
Zoe Morgan .... script supervisor
V.P. Sajimon .... production assistant
Parthiban Shanmugam .... production assistant
Marla Shelton .... production coordinator: New York
Wahid Chowhan .... thanks
K.E. Ismail .... thanks: Minister of Revenue, Govt. of Kerala
V.P. Joy .... thanks: District Collector of Ernakulam
K.J. Sohan .... thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for a scene of sexuality
124 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Revealing mistakes: As Theresa is walking along with the procession she passes an Indian boy in the crowd who waves at the camera.See more »
Movie Connections:
Features Aar-Paar (1954)See more »
Too YoungSee more »


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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful.
Bold Enough to take on a Serious often neglected Subject, 25 October 2006
Author: marbleann from Houston

This has got to be the best movie I have ever seen that tackles the madness that self hatred can bring. Yes we have seen plenty of movies in which someone has a identity crisis. But this movie actually in a very understated way shows how self hatred is a psychological illness that I believe is serious problem that people tend It sweep under the rug. It shows that a person who has lived under colonialism in India slowly slips into darkness because no matter how she tried to assimilate and to act just like the British even to the detriment her own people. She will always remain a Indian no matter if her father was white She will always remain a person she hates a Indian, a "blackie". .

As a black woman I have seen this behavior so many times. When I say that black people who act like Mary are sick white people say I am racist because to them the person I am referring to is a great person who never sees race or some other ridiculous reason. When in reality all they see is race, their race and they hate it. Cotton Mary personifies these people to a Tee. They will undermined their own people to the white man so perhaps the white man will think they are not like "those people", For example when Cotton Mary causes a lifelong servant Abraham to loose his job. She knew that the mistress of the house, Lily would not even question if this trusted person would steal, because of her self hatred to her all of "those people, blackies" steal so of course Lily would believe that too. The funny thing is that these people like Cotton Marry usually take on the characteristics of the negative stereotype, they hate so much. She was the one who was stealing.

This man lived there for as long as she was alive and when she dismissed him he said "this is my home"" , she did nothing. The little daughter was the only one in the family that had sense. So when they go back to look for him, he is gone. Disappeared, poof, just like that.

Now Mary thinks she is one of them. So to show she is a big shot to her sister and friends she steals things from the household as if they were hers and gives it to her sister and friends as gifts. it is incredible how she takes the mistress's baby to the sister she she can feed it breast milk but in the same breath call her sister all types of demeaning names. To Mary those "blackies" are only good as long as she has use for them. Just like the Brits or any colonial power treated the natives of the country they colonized.

I am not going to go into the ending but to me this his how it always ends. Reality sets in and they end up back home, ANd always for the same reason.

Someone mentioned she slowly started living in the Land of Make Believe. But I will disagree and say she was always lived there. Her self hatred led her to deny who she was. She was always crazy. Only when reality sets in does she seem to break. But I say she was always broken., but she never realized it. Only when she realized reality did she herself look it, But she always was a nut..

I find this behavior is very much a reality within communities that have been traditionally oppressed. I am Jamaican and so many times I have seen remnants of Jamaicans that actually lived under colonialism acting more like the British then the British and treating their own people like dirt.

I see it happens here in America. Where the black person or other people of color have been broken down so much that they actually believe they are garbage while aspiring to be a white person. Jewish people talk about self hatred all of the time.

This is the first movie I ever saw that came right out and tackled this problem.. I read some reviews that were not crazy about this movie and some felt that Mary was annoying and a unsympathetic character.. I can understand how people would feel that way. They most likely do not fully understand the full depths of the psychological damage colonialism or oppression had on the oppressed.

To me she was a sympathetic person because she she suffered form the illness of self hatred. Remember this movie took place in 1957. Today in the year 2006 I still see people like Cotton Mary because this illness is something that is brought down from generation to generation. All one has to do is look at the last scene with Cotton Mary and the little girl to understand what I mean.

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