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Gen-Z Found Ray, Premchand And A Political Satire, Shatranj Ke Khilari, Delivers Best Crossover Ever

Gen-Z Found Ray, Premchand And A Political Satire, Shatranj Ke Khilari, Delivers Best Crossover Ever

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Shatranj Ke Khilari

Satyajit Ray’s first Hindi release, Shatranj Ke Khilari, was about the politics of both the reel and the real world. The highly powerful Bombay Film Industry didn’t want this film to succeed and rule their sphere. Fear was that the success of Shatranj Ke Khilari would give an instinct to the audience about art films and how awful commercial cinema (produced frequently in that era) can be.

Film Shatranj Ke Khilari belonged to a niche genre of an audience yet was lavishly shot and designed. Ray’s directorial work provides enough hidden significance, metaphors and ironies for an audience to explore upon.

The Story Of Shatranj Ke Khilari

  • Set in the late 1800s, Shatranj Ke Khiladi runs on two main stories parallel to one another. The first storyline shows an English General Outram, a much younger looking Sir Richard Attenborough, pitted against Awadh’s incompetent yet culturally aware Mughal King, Wajid Ali Shah (a well big Amjad Khan).
  • The company wants to take over Awadh (the final province that was still run by the royalty). So it decides to look past a decade-old treaty that promised, power of Awadh would never be lost.
Shatranj Ke Khilari

via patrika

  • But soon, the king’s power and ability are brought under question (again, that’s just the way the East India Company governed the constituency).
  • The second interestingly laid out strand is of the old buddies Mirza Sajjad Ali (a wonderfully flawless Sanjeev Kumar) and Mir Roshan Ali (a high-spirited Saeed Jaffrey). These two upper-middle-class noblemen sit around all day, smelling at their well-made hookahs and ignoring their frustrated spouses, obsessed with the game of chess.
Shatranj Ke Khilari

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The Characters In Shatranj Ke Khilari

  • Sanjeev Kumar and Syed Jaffrey play the two nobles whose affection for chess knows no limits. While Syed Jaffrey is the warm, happy and gracious lout, negligent of the way his better half is taking part in extramarital affairs despite his good faith.
  • Sanjeev Kumar is the more aggressive of the two companions, both on and off the chessboard.
  • Amjad Khan plays Wajid Ali Shah with extraordinary affectability, showing his zenith as an entertainer. 
  • After becoming aware of Outram’s insights, his long talk to his priests portrays his anxiety and disobedience.
Amjad Khan plays Wajid Ali Shah

via theprint

The Direction Of Shatranj Ke Khilari

  • Satyajit brings his brand vision for captivating gloriousness, neutralizing with his thoughtful interest in humanity.
  • Satyajit techniques don’t vary from any of his prior works. The camera catches the expressiveness of the actors, regardless the director holds the whip pan directly through.
  • Starting from the narration of Bachchan and closing to the nawabs being settled down to another round of chess–there’s no better conceptualizer than Ray.

 Did You Know?

  • Shatranj Ke Khilari was the first Indian film that had Attenborough in its cast.
  • It tanked at the box office despite receiving rave reviews from the critics.
  • The film was made on a budget of 40 lakhs. A good portion of this was spent on costumes and sets.
Shatranj Ke Khilari

via scroll

Blog Edited By Ritika Gupta

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