Shakespearewallah

Brilliant 1965 film from the Merchant Ivory stable “Shakespearewallah” – a story of a touring theatre company in India, staging Shakespeare plays all over India. These are British actors who chose to stay behind after India’s independence. Much as things start to change for them in terms of revenue, declining attendance, interest etc. Tony Buckingham (Geoffrey Kendall in a masterful performance) and his wife are the theatre company along with their daughter Lizzie (Felicity Kendall). Sanju (Shashi Kapoor) comes in as the love interest who discovers and is enthralled by the theatre much to the annoyance of his girlfriend Manjula (Madhur Jaffrey). Shashi Kapur and Felicity Kendall deliver solid performances. Shashi Kapoor in fact was much better at doing such roles rather than the dancing and singing roles in commercial cinema. The beauty of the movie is the brilliant virtuoso music delivered by none other than Satyajit Ray. Some of the scenes like the kissing scenes between Sanju and Lizzie would have been taboo way back in 1965 in Hindi commercial cinema.

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