Review: ‘Shakespeare Wallah’

Shakespeare Wallah is officially designated an Indian-American coproduction, though the official credits do not name the US associates, apart from the Californian-born director, James Ivory.

Shakespeare Wallah is officially designated an Indian-American coproduction, though the official credits do not name the US associates, apart from the Californian-born director, James Ivory.

The English language production is the story of a touring theatrical company specializing in Shakespearean production which has seen better days. It’s a struggle to keep the company going which was founded by Tony and Carla Buckingham (Geoffrey Kendal and Laura Liddell) who are totally dedicated, and expect the same from all around, and particularly from their daughter Lizzie, who is currently enamored of an Indian playboy, who is also indulging in some extra-curricular activities with an Indian actress in the company.

The pace of the production is always too leisurely, and some of the Shakespearean excerpts could advantageously be cut. Nevertheless, there is a naive charm to the production.

There is also a very confident performance by Shashi Kapoor, as the Indian playboy. Felicity Kendal is a pert newcomer with an ingenuous style. Madhur Jaffrey ably completes the cast as the Indian actress.

Shakespeare Wallah

India - US

Production

Merchant Ivory. Director James Ivory; Producer Ismail Merchant; Screenplay Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, James Ivory; Camera Subrata Mitra; Editor Amit Bose; Music Satyajit Ray

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1965. Running time: 125 MIN.

With

Shashi Kapoor Felicity Kendal Geoffrey Kendal Laura Liddell Madhur Jaffrey
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