Circa 1971, Gustad Noble lives in a one bedroom hall rented apartment in Byculla, Bombay. He travels to work everyday by Central Railway to Victoria Terminus and walks to Flora Fountain to ... See full summary »
In 1971 Salford fish-and-chip shop owner George Khan expects his family to follow his strict Pakistani Muslim ways. But his children, with an English mother and having been born and brought... See full summary »
Britain's top pop artiste, Tom Pickle, travels to Bombay, India, circa 1960s to learn to play the sitar (musical instrument) from renowned maestro Ustad Zafar Khan. Tom is taken to Zafar's ... See full summary »
Meena, a 12-year-old living in a mining village in the English Midlands in 1972, is the daughter of Indian parents who've come to England to give her a better life. This idyllic existence ... See full summary »
Anne is investigating the life of her grand-aunt Olivia, whose destiny has always been shrouded with scandal. The search leads back to the early 1920s, when Olivia, recently married to ... See full summary »
Circa 1940 in Trinidad, still a British Colony, lives Ganesh Ramseyor, of East Indian origin, along with his wife, Leela. He longs to reach out to people, especially to Hindus, in order to promote the Hindu Faith, and be known as a writer. He does get considerable success, so much so that he becomes famous as a miracle worker, having cured a man of sharing intimacy with his bicycle; prevented a man from believing that he can fly; and convincing a young woman to end her fast. His fame spreads all over the island and thousands throng to seek his blessings, which he does dole out quite benevolently, without charging any fees from the poor and the needy. He then decides to spread his wings by challenging the local politician Pandit Narayan Chandrashekhar alias Cyrus T., and takes over The Hindu Organization, thence opening his way to a seat in the prestigious Member of the Legislative Assembly. Now literally the sky is the limit for Ganesh, and he knows that he can achieve any position - ... Written by
It's not likely this movie will appeal to anyone but Merchant-Ivory devotees, Trinidadians or people who lived in Trinidad during the era depicted by the movie, V. S. Naipaul fans, mystics, or massage practitioners. And it's possible you're a V. S. Naipaul fan because he's a Trinidad success story himself. I grew up in pre-Independence Trinidad for a few years as a small boy around the time the story takes place and have a memory of its spectacular scenery and lush interior flatlands, tablelands and mountains, its towns and villages and seashores and eccentric stew of ethnic inhabitants. Later when my family returned in the late 60's we revisited the land of our youth to find many changes, not least in the change in attitude of blacks towards whites. After one summer there again as a teenager, my father sent my brother and I back to school in Canada each with a copy of a V. S. Naipaul novel. I got "Miguel Street" and was glad of it, although I never read my brother's copy of "A House for Mr. Biswas". I do know, however, that Naipaul has captured the essence of Trinidadian "wannabee-ism", and yearning for national independence, in "The Mystic Masseur". I rented this movie because I lived in Trinidad, but might have bypassed it if not for the Merchant-Ivory production. I was not surprised to note a wild assortment of "Trinidadian" accents, although the writers nailed the twisted colloquialisms, sort of like, "She took de ice-cold box of chicken breast and put it under she nylon dress." I recall the outdoor kitchens, and the dusty, flyblown stores of the rural areas denoted in the movie. I recall the taxis, which were privately-owned vehicles travelling established routes picking up and letting people off where they wanted. A glaring oversight is the lack of deployed mosquito-netting in the bedrooms - and no one slaps away the relentless onslaught of mosquitoes and no-see-ums at any time. The movie and novel do carefully depict the credulous, deceptive, argumentative, insulting behaviour of the uneducated, rural and poor folk. The acting, apart from the accents, is done enthusiastically by the Asian players, with James Fox bringing some Merchant-Ivory to the role of a crazy, old, English sadhu. So, this movie will seem slow and boring to people who don't know Trinidad either from Naipaul or from having lived there during the era the movie depicts, and I'm afraid that while it's a lovely movie to look at, and fairly authentic in it's depiction of rural Trinidadian life, I suppose, it's a slow-moving piece of obscure nostalgia.
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