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Heat and Dust (1983)

R | | Drama, Romance | January 1983 (UK)
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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 »

Director:

James Ivory

Writers:

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (novel), Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (screenplay)
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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Cazenove ... Douglas Rivers, the Assistant Collector (The Nineteen Twenties in the Civil Lines at Satipur)
Greta Scacchi ... Olivia, his wife (The Nineteen Twenties in the Civil Lines at Satipur)
Julian Glover ... Crawford, the District Collector (The Nineteen Twenties in the Civil Lines at Satipur)
Susan Fleetwood ... Mrs. Crawford, the Burra Mensahib (The Nineteen Twenties in the Civil Lines at Satipur)
Patrick Godfrey ... Saunders, the Medical Officer (The Nineteen Twenties in the Civil Lines at Satipur)
Jennifer Kendal ... Mrs. Saunders (The Nineteen Twenties in the Civil Lines at Satipur)
Shashi Kapoor ... The Nawab (At the Palace in Khatm)
Madhur Jaffrey ... Begum Mussarat Jahan, the Nawab's mother (At the Palace in Khatm)
Nickolas Grace Nickolas Grace ... Harry Hamilton-Paul (At the Palace in Khatm)
Barry Foster ... Major Minnies, the Political Agent (At the Palace in Khatm)
Julie Christie ... Anne (1982 in Satipur Town)
Zakir Hussain Zakir Hussain ... Inder Lal, Anne's landlord (1982. In Satipur Town)
Ratna Pathak Shah ... Ritu, Inder Lal's wife (1982. In Satipur Town) (as Ratna Pathak)
Tarla Mehta Tarla Mehta ... Inder Lal's mother (1982. In Satipur Town)
Charles McCaughan ... Chid (1982. In Satipur Town)
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Storyline

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 Douglas, a civil servant in the colonial administration, comes to live with him in India. Slowly, Olivia becomes fascinated by India and by the local ruler, a nawab who combines British distinction with Indian pomp and ruthlessness. This fascination is not without risks: the region is being ransacked by a group of sanguinary bandits, and intrigues are opposing the prejudiced British community led by Major Minnies and Dr. Saunders against the nawab. As Anne delves into the history of her grand-aunt, she is led to reconsider her own life. Written by Eduardo Casais <eduardo.casais@research.nokia.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

January 1983 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

1982. In Satipur Town See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$36,079, 18 September 1983, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$19,856, 10 September 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was made and released about eight years after its source novel of the same name by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala had been first published in 1975. See more »

Quotes

Olivia, his wife (The Nineteen Twenties in the Civil Lines at Satipur): You have these set notions about what English women are supposed to stand. Why should anybody tell me what I can stand and what I can't stand? Well, if you want to know, the only thing I can't stand is English women. Memsahibs.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Mindscape of Alan Moore (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A tale of two women
5 April 2016 | by tomsviewSee all my reviews

Unusually structured and travelling at about the speed of India's Metupalayam Ooty Nilgiri Passenger Train, this film still delivers an intriguing story.

Set in India it has the bonus of authentic locations, and features two beautiful actresses at different stages of their careers in the same movie, although they don't share a single scene together.

The story takes a little getting into. It's actually two intertwined stories and starts with Anne (Julie Christie) travelling to India to find out about the life of her great aunt Olivia (Greta Scacchi) - a forerunner of "Who Do You Think You Are?" Flashbacks reveal Olivia's story and the film cuts back and forth from one story to the other as we see that Anne's journey follows Olivia's path, and also begins to parallel her story.

A fascinating aspect of the movie is how it reveals two Indias: one under the British Raj during the 1920's, which Olivia inhabited, and the modern one of the 1980's that Anne experiences.

Over the years there have been many films about British rule in India - Hollywood loved an earlier period especially along the Northwest Frontier, but of late, British films and television have concentrated on the decades just before India's independence - the twilight of the Raj.

Another critical element in the drama is the relationship between a semi-independent prince, the Nawab of Khatm (Shashi Kapoor), and the British rulers. The film shows the attitudes of the British and Indians towards each other, and also the attitudes of the British towards their fellow Britons. It highlights the class system that existed between the races and how crossing that line was linked to the balance of power.

Despite being married to Douglas Rivers (Christopher Cazenove), a British colonial official, Olivia crosses the line, has an affair with the Nawab, and is virtually banished from both societies. Although Anne also has an affair with an Indian, it is 60-years later and no longer has the significance of her great aunt's fall from grace.

This film looks good and composer Richard Robbins created an evocative score blending electronics with Indian instruments.

Although the script and direction understates just about everything, even using narration to glide over what could have been emotion charged scenes, the combination of stars, locations and the lovingly recreated depiction of an era ensures that "Heat and Dust" still leaves an impression.


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