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The Guru (1969)

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 »

Director:

James Ivory

Writers:

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (story written for the screen by) (as R. Prawer Jhabvala), James Ivory (story written for the screen by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rita Tushingham ... Jenny
Michael York ... Tom Pickle
Utpal Dutt ... Ustal Zafar Khan
Madhur Jaffrey ... Begum Sahiba
Barry Foster ... Chris
Aparna Sen ... Ghazala
Zohra Sehgal ... Mastani (as Zohra Segal)
Saeed Jaffrey ... Murad
Nana Palsikar ... The Guru's Guru
Nadira ... Courtesan
Leela Naidu ... Girl at the Party
Usha Katrah Usha Katrah ... Lady Reporter
Fred Ohringer Fred Ohringer ... Howard
Nargis Cowalsji Nargis Cowalsji ... Society Hostess
Marcus Murch Marcus Murch ... Snide Guest
Edit

Storyline

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 home, where he gets to meet his wife and several daughters, and the maestro himself. Zafar never has had a disciple as Tom, and is clearly disappointed with his lack of respect. Nevertheless, he asks him to travel to Banares with him. Also accompanying them is a young Caucasian woman named Jenny, who Zafar has taken a liking to, much to his wife's displeasure, and who is more respectful of him than Tom. In Banaras, they get to meet Zafar's aging Guru, and his mistress, Ghazala, who is expecting a child soon. Zafar hopes that it will be a son. Zafar's Guru is quite disappointed with him for having Tom and Jenny as his disciples. An over-awed and overwrought Jenny decides to take it easy - and it is then she witnesses the murder of a courtesan. Watch as events unfold in this peaceful town of Banaras ... Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

independent film | See All (1) »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

G
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Details

Country:

USA | India

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 February 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Magia do Guru See more »

Filming Locations:

Bombay, India See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of eight productions that Indian actor Saeed Jaffrey made with Merchant Ivory Productions. The films include The Guru (1969), The Delhi Way (1964), Heat and Dust (1983), The Deceivers (1988), The Sword and the Flute (1959), The Courtesans of Bombay (1983), The Creation of Woman (1961), and Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie's Pictures (1978). See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Darjeeling Limited (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Tom's Boat Song
By Ustad Imrat Khan (as Ustad Imrat Hussein Khan), Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (as R. Prawer Jhabvala)
Performed by Michael York (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Interesting study of Western stereotypes of India, and vice versa
13 November 2005 | by jazzerooniSee all my reviews

Aside from the great Indian music in this film, and some noteworthy cinematography, I think the takeaway for me was the study in preconceptions held by the British and Indians about each other.

British perception of Indians: stoic, wise, untouched by materialism. Reality: Indians can be as materialistic, petty and emotional as Westerners.

Indian perception of the British: foolish, intriguing, wasteful, decadent. Reality: The main British character (Tom Pickle) is arguably the wisest character in the film.

I'd recommend this to anyone wanting to learn about a moment in time when East and West began opening up to each other, and learning each others' strengths and weaknesses.


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