6.5/10
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4 user 1 critic

The Courtesans of Bombay (1983)

Roughly structured over 24 hours, we visit Pavan Pool, a compound in Bombay where poor women sing, dance, and engage in prostitution. By day, they practice singing and dancing, both ... See full summary »

Director:

Ismail Merchant

Writers:

Ismail Merchant (a film made by), James Ivory (a film made by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Saeed Jaffrey
Zohra Sehgal ... (as Zohra Segal)
Kareem Samar Kareem Samar
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Storyline

Roughly structured over 24 hours, we visit Pavan Pool, a compound in Bombay where poor women sing, dance, and engage in prostitution. By day, they practice singing and dancing, both traditional and pop. Brothers and uncles with musical talent accompany them; the other men are idle, gambling and laying about, living off the women's earnings. At night, men come to the compound, walking past room after room of performing women, sitting down to listen to those who interest them. What they pay is up to them. After hours, prostitution begins. Our guides are the compound's rent collector, an older woman who grew up there, and a bit-part actor who spends his earnings there. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

dance | india | independent film | See All (3) »

Genres:

Documentary | Music

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Details

Official Sites:

Merchant Ivory Productions

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

January 1983 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Kurtisaner i Bombay See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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 »

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User Reviews

 
Documentary like film on Bombay
8 September 2005 | by dublin5See all my reviews

I enjoyed this film, i got it out on DVD. Its a Merchant Ivory film, there are quite a few, you will find them in the world cinema section of your DVD store.

It is basically a documentary on the old brothel area of Bombay called Pavan Pool. This place is a huge building that houses over a thousand people. The film starts off with the narrator, who is an actor playing the rent collector, he seems a little smarmy.

In Pavan Pool the family's that live there rejoice when there is a girl born as it means she will be able to make money by dancing and singing and courting. (It seems the men in PP do as little as possible and earn no money, unless they can play an instrument to accompany the women) The music is hypnotic and lively and the dancing is amazing.

The film moves along at a nice pace with various characters giving an interesting narration.

If you have an interest in India you should watch this, but keep in mind it was made way back in 1983..


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