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) ...
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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:
Intriguing 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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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful.
Intriguing, 24 July 2005
Author: Saman Perera from Houston, Texas

An interesting tale of poverty and the age old desire of man to engage in the greatest sport of exploitation of the poor told in a narration style with actors and a real life cast of Bombay courtesans. It captures the utter desperation of these poor souls as they live in a compound better suited to demolition than a living space. The camera captures the myriad of lives and their existence in a world cynical of their existence.

The camera wonders the dark and depraved halls searching for the characters that tells the weary story. It is weaved into a collage of memories and visualizations, beautifully interrupted by the narrators discussing the everyday lives and the reason for visiting these establishments. Mystical eastern dancing and gyrations entice the men into squalid rooms where they spend their hard working money on an evening of pleasure, music, and a night of prostitution.

This film really brings the darker side of Bombay into the mainstream in a documentary style. Its heartbreaking to see a poor beautiful girl who dances magnificently under the tutelage of a dance guru, only to know the fate that one day awaits her in a seedy apartment. A must see!

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