IMDb > The Courtesans of Bombay (1983) (TV)

The Courtesans of Bombay (1983) (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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Ismail Merchant (a film made by) &
James Ivory (a film made by) ...
View company contact information for The Courtesans of Bombay on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
January 1983 (UK) See more »
Roughly structured over 24 hours, we visit Pavan Pool, a compound in Bombay where poor women sing, dance... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Boring, but good views of India See more (4 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Directed by
Ismail Merchant 
Writing credits
Ismail Merchant (a film made by) &
James Ivory (a film made by) &
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (a film made by)

Produced by
Wahid Chowhan .... associate producer
Ismail Merchant .... producer
Kareem Samar .... associate producer
Cinematography by
Vishnu Mathur 
Film Editing by
Amit Bose 
Rita Stern (co-editor)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Michael Fields .... assistant director
Sound Department
Ray Beckett .... sound
Richard King .... sound re-recordist
Vali Patel .... boom operator
Camera and Electrical Department
Rajesh Joshi .... camera operator: second unit
Rambali Mishra .... lighting technician
A. Natarajan .... lighting technician
Gyanchand Rikki .... assistant camera
Janardhan Rumde .... lighting technician
Editorial Department
Anna Ksiezopolska .... assistant editor (as Anna Ksiezopolska)
Dilip Roy .... assistant editor
Julie Talen .... assistant editor
Other crew
Azela Charles .... production secretary
Aamer Hussein .... assistant to director
Nausheer Nariman .... production accountant
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

UK:74 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:


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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
Boring, but good views of India, 7 August 2001
Author: William J. Fickling ( from Columbia, South Carolina, USA

This Merchant-Ivory film is probably very hard to find. It is not available on VHS or DVD, and I have rarely seen it on cable. Just by chance I happened to notice that it was on IFC on a Sunday morning, so I decided to give it a view.

For the most part, this film is excruciatingly boring, moving along at a snail's pace. It has the feel of a documentary, but it also uses recognizable actors. However, they function primarily as narrators. The film provides an extensive portrait of the brothels of the red light district of Bombay. Apparently Indian men regard "courtesans" as sources of much more than sexual gratification, but rather view them much more as Japanese view geishas, that is, as entertainers. The women are seen singing, dancing, and playing board games with the men. Sexual activity is barely hinted at, and presumably it takes place after the entertainment ends. The film is also valuable is that it gives us a good view of the squalor of contemporary Bombay, something which has probably grown much worse in the 20 or so years since this film was made. If you have a fascination with India, try to catch Louis Malle's "Phantom India."

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