On the anniversary of her father's death, an Indian princess (Madhur Jaffrey) celebrates his memory in her London apartment by having tea and showing a selection of home movies to her guest...
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On the anniversary of her father's death, an Indian princess (Madhur Jaffrey) celebrates his memory in her London apartment by having tea and showing a selection of home movies to her guest, her father's old tutor Cyril Sahib (James Mason).
I found this short film by Merchant-Ivory to be quite interesting. While it's not abounding with action and is basically a slow two-person film, it explores the sense of entitlement and cluelessness among the ruling elite of pre-independence India. The film consists of an ex-princess living in a London flat (Madhur Jaffrey) having a quiet reunion dinner with her dead father's old secretary (James Mason) on the birthday of her father. Mostly, Mason is rather subdued and quiet as the Jaffrey talks and talks. Then, after the pleasantries, she shows him old film of her father and discusses his life and legacy. For the most part, the princess is REALLY clueless and whines a bit about how sad it is times have changed--not acknowledging the widespread poverty and inequity of the old system. In a land of hunger and privation, you see the old ruler on hunting expeditions and playing polo. And, in a few sick cases, folks died serving him and Jaffrey lives under the illusion that he was good to 'his people'. Fascinating and ample proof that an autocratic system is morally bankrupt and clueless--insisting that within their hearts, the Indian people STILL love them (despite having driven them from the country!). A fascinating little portrait but clearly not a film for everyone.
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