Programme 2018

Shakespeare Wallah

Director: James Ivory


Section: Restored Classics

Country: India, USA | Year: 1965

Language(s): English, Hindi | Time: 122 mins


In 1960s post-colonial India, Tony Buckingham and his wife, Carla, are the British actor-managers of a troupe of English, Irish and Indian actors who travel the country mounting performances of Shakespeare’s works. The Buckinghams find themselves grappling with a diminishing demand for their craft as the English theatre on the subcontinent is supplanted by the emerging Bollywood film movement. Meanwhile, Lizzie Buckingham, the couple's daughter, falls in love with Sanju, a wealthy young Indian playboy who is also romantically involved with the glamorous but vain Bollywood movie star Manjula. The Buckinghams must weigh their devotion to their craft against their concern over their daughter's future in a country which, it seems, no longer has a place for them.

Director's Bio

James Ivory was born in Berkeley, California and educated at the University of Oregon, where he majored in Architecture and Fine Arts. His first film, which he wrote, photographed and produced, was Venice: Theme and Variations (1957), a half-hour documentary made as a thesis film for a degree in cinema from the University of Southern California. In 1961, Ivory teamed up with Ismail Merchant to form Merchant Ivory Productions, with their films for the most part directed by Ivory and produced by Merchant. Ivory’s first theatrical feature for the newly formed company was The Householder (1963). Ivory received the 2018 Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Call Me By Your Name.