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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
Adaptations of novels are _always_ risky business. But this movie takes the cake.
I thought Mercahnt Ivory would have done better.
What kills the movie is the casting and the dialog delivery: the pronunciation. (What else remains?) Most of the actors look too polished for the roles they play; and they are: they are part of a sophisticated international cast that regularly starts in many "Raj" movies (except Om Puri).
They are used to suave, clipped British accents. And that is painfully obvious when they try to speak in the rural Hindi-Trinidadian mix.
The book does not show them that way. I had imagined them looking like people from the region I have seen in India which features typical of people from that region (you get rare glimpses of such people, esp. at Ganesh's wedding). And speaking like them when they speak English.
Ganesh, The Great Belcher (Zohra Sehgal) et al can hardly conceal their clean, sophisticated inflections On Puri does a poor job overlaying the Bhojpuri-accented English onto his native Punjabi drawl. Such a fine actor...I just kept wishing he speak in Hindi instead...just end the torture...
The results are atrociously comic. On top of all that confusion the actors try to put on an Indian, Apu-the-character-from-Simpsons style of Indian accent. Ugh!
Gawd! I could not see the images in my mind be butchered by the on-screen characterizations...
A western viewer may not observe all these fine points but they were too obvious to me...rather painfully so...
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