Friday, August 18, 2006

The Householder -English -1963

This is the best of all the merchant ivory movies, i have seen so far.It is a simple and sweet movie that tells the metamorphosis of a young man into a householder.

Prem Sagar(Shashi Kapoor) and Indu(Leela Naidu ) are a typical indian newly wed couple.Prem is a poorly paid delhi professor, who is always worried about making ends meet.He is also a timid and shy guy, who finds it hard to get across his point to others.The movie tells the early days of this couple, who are coming to terms with their new roles and responsibilities as a mild comedy.

The couple prem and indu go through various stages that the newly weds usually go through, like getting to know each other, growing up from an young adult to a responsible family man/woman,understanding real love and affection etc.Prem apart from all these also goes through the emotions of coming out of his mothers love bonds to get entangled with that of his wife. Prem who was a carefree young man finds it hard to change into a householder. The movie sweetly talks about how he finally does change and comes to terms with his role as a householder, like many millions before him have done.

I used to wonder why the merchant ivory team always went with ruth pawar jabberwala in most of their movies. she wasn't that impressive in many of the movies that i saw. I got the answer in this film.It is her best, the characters well etched and the story told in a beautiful way.The story is universal in its theme. It will touch a chord on everybody who watches it even though the movie is completely told in an indian context. Guess adjusting to your partner and becoming a householder is a common tough task for any young man around the world.

The movie is also about communicating with your life partner and everyone else in the world. Through out the movie you can see the characters living in their own world. Most of the people don't listen to what the other person is saying and they keep on talking about their view point's. Nobody listens to the other.

Sashi kapoor has given a nice performance in the movie.He places the timid and shy professor beautifully. The character Mr chadda played by Harindranath Chattopadhyay was also an awesome one.So are the principal and land lord characters.

Mr.Chadda & khanna played by Harindranath Chattopadhyay & Romesh Thapar

One interesting scene in the movie, is a scene where all the professors are taking a break in their staff room. Sashi kapoor and another professor sohanlal talk about how mehuruli is a long way, how the other professor has to bring his lunch and other mundane stuff.The uptight Mr.Chadda, who always thinks low of the other professors, starts reading from Thrift by Samuel Smiles
Of all wretched men, surely the idle are the most so those whose life is barren of utility, who have nothing to do except to gratify their senses. Are not such men the most querulous, miserable, and dissatisfied of all, constantly in a state of ennui, alike useless to themselves and to others mere cumberers of the earth, who, when removed, are missed by none, and whom none regret? Most wretched and ignoble lot, indeed, is the lot of the idlers.
His quoting is only broken by Mrs.Khanna(The college principal/owner's wife) who reduces the speed of the fan and says that the professors cannot run the fan at that speed with electric charges being so high.Sashi kapoor again continues talking to professor sohanlal about his wifes name how he doesn't like the name indhu and prefers something like nirupama or nimmy. The whole scene is hilarious.

The whole movie is a mild comedy.All the characters are wonderful and funny. The principal, chadda, landlord, prem's mother etc. The jokes are subtle, repeated viewing will make us appreciate the movie better. Here are a few

Indhu goes to the landlords house. The Landlords wife is knitting a sweater, and her son is lying next to her. She says that she is knitting the sweater is for her son who is next to her and reading some magazine.If you look closely you can see that actually he is looking at some models in their designer dresses in some fashion magazine.

Sashi goes to meet the college principal Mr.khanna for an increment in his salary.Mr.Khana is having breakfast. Mr.Khanna gives a big lecture on how to keep ones body healthy, watch out for what he is eating...lots of ladoos

It is a Merchant Ivory movie.There must be Shakespeare somewhere in the movie. Shakespeare qoutes comes as a wall hanging in Sashi kapoor's house.He has Shakespeare seven ages of men framed in his house.
Indhu reads the part

And then the lover
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow.

Leela naidu

Cast and credits :
Shashi Kapoor .... Prem Sagar
Leela Naidu .... Indu
Durga Khote .... The Mother
Achala Sachdev .... Mrs. Saigal
Harindranath Chattopadhyay .... Mr. Chadda
Pahadi Sanyal .... The Swami
Romesh Thapar .... Mr. Khanna
Walter Woolf King .... Professor
Patsy Dance .... Kitty
Indu Lele .... Mrs. Khanna
Prayag Raj .... Raj
Pinchoo Kapoor .... Mr. Saigal
Praveen Paul .... 2nd Lady
Usha Amin .... 1st Lady
Shama Beg .... Mrs. Raj
Pro Sen .... Sohanlal
Jabeen Jalil .... Bobo
Ernest Castaldo .... Ernest

Directed by James Ivory
Screenplay and dialouges by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

This movie belongs to Ruth Pawar jhabvala, this is her best.The movie is supposedly based on her novel of the same name.

The first merchant ivory movie i had seen was Howard's End. Long time after that i realised that they had made many movies in india with Shashi kapoor.

Of all their collaborations, I liked Shakesphere wallah the most! I was pleasently suprised by the restrained performances of Shashi kapoor.

Some of their other collaborations include -
The delihi Way
Shakesphere wallah
heat and Dust
In custody

I find your knowledge for cinema very informative.

Oz at iss starting a new website for Cinema lovers and he is looking for writers/bloggers.

it would be great to have you on board. at

If you are interested, i would arrange to send you a user id and password.

thanxs for the info.Actually i have already written about shakesphere wallah.Will write about Heat and dust soon.Havn't seen the other two yet though.

thanxs.what is ur email id??.
sorry to inform you so late.

You could give your contact information at

Just give my id as reference as punds and Oz will send you the details of your id


Could you login to the above address and login. We would be happy to have you at passion For Cinema.

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