The Chess Players (Shatranj Ke Khiladi)
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The Chess Players (Shatranj Ke Khiladi)
Based on a story by Munshi Premchand, and much influenced by Vsevolod Pudovkin's 1925 film Chess Fever, this satirical film by noted Indian director Satyajit Ray is set in colonial India in 1856. The British Resident of the East India Company (Richard Attenborough) has observed that the monarch of Lucknow, which is in his trading region, seems to be completely uninterested in government. He tries to arrange things so that he can annex the province. Embroiled in a long-running chess rivalry, two local noblemen (played by Sanjeev Kumar and Saeed Jaffrey) cannot be bothered with such minor… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Ray's film is an incisive dissection of culture shock and class privilege."
‑ Michael Atkinson, Village Voice
"The slow pace can make it tedious to watch at times, but for Ray, allowances should be made."
‑ Sandi Chaitram, BBC.com
"Its mannered goofiness echoes the pastoral comedy of Days and Nights In the Forest while the Raj-era dancing-girl trappings recall the decidedly grim The Music Room."
‑ Jay Antani, Slant Magazine
"The uneven but elegantly told gentle historical film about conflicting cultures has its few moments of brilliance."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Ponderously allegorical and overlong, a major disappointment from director Ray."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Ray's movies are frequently something of an acquired taste, but it's a habit worth acquiring, as this specimen amply demonstrates."
‑ , Film4
"combines a comedy of manners with historical drama, as it examines the 1856 British takeover of India"
‑ John A. Nesbit, Old School Reviews
More reviews for The Chess Players (Shatranj Ke Khiladi) on Rotten Tomatoes