On Satyajit Ray’s birthday check out the classic Shatranj Ke Khilari.
Synopsis: The East India Company rules much of India; directly or indirectly through ‘treaties of friendship.’ The kingdom of Avadh is under such a treaty of friendship. Its ruler, Nawab Wajid Ali Shah (Amjad Khan), is an indifferent ruler, who prefers arts to the matters of state or politics. Mirza Sajjad Ali (Sanjeev Kumar) and Mir Roshan Ali (Saeed Jaffrey) are two landlords living in the capital city of Lucknow. They do nothing, and are addicted to the game of chess. Mirza’s wife, Khurshid (Shabana Azmi), feels neglected. Mir’s wife, Nafeesa (Farida Jalal) has found solace in a wild love affair with a young nephew. Lord Dalhousie, the Governor General, sends General Outram (Sir Richard Attenborough), the British Resident of Lucknow, to take over Avadh under the pretext of Nawab’s misrule.
The king, Wajid Ali Shah has only two options, either to give up his throne or to fight a battle. Mir and Mirza learn about the British Company’s troops marching towards Lucknow. Scared that they may be called to fight the British forces, they run off to a remote village to continue playing chess.
Had posted some scenes in Scene of the Week and had written a Recco a few years back.Amjad Khan Exclusive Farida Jalal Farooque Shaikh Saeed Jaffrey Sanjeev Kumar Satyajit Ray Shabana Azmi Shatranj Ke Khilari Sir Richard Attenborough Tanqeed Film Festival Tom Alter Victor Bannerjee