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Chess Players (1977)

Director: Satyajit Ray     Starring: Saeed Jaffrey Richard Attenborough
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Learn more about Chess Players:

Format: DVD
Sku: 202287443
UPC: 738329040826
UPC 14: 00738329040826
Category Keywords: India
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A Film by Satyajit Ray.

"[Ray is an] extraordinary filmmaker...  George Lucas, Star Wars Director
"Ray's historical drama offers a vision of a troubled India steeped in apathy  Sandy Chaitram, BBC Films Review
"One of (Satyajit) Ray's finest achievements, the work of a master film-maker.  The London Observer

Editor's Note
Based on a short-story by the renowned Hindi writer Premchand, and directed by Indian film master Satyajit Ray, THE CHESS PLAYERS tells the story of the independent Indian kingdom of Awadh--ruled by the art- and music-loving King Wajid Ali Shah--that becomes threatened with the colonial aspirations of the British Empire and the devious machinations of a British General (Sir Richard Attenborough, JURASSIC PARK) eager to annex the kingdom.

Meanwhile, two wealthy landowners, Mirza and Mir become obsessively involved in their endless chess games, seemingly oblivious to the chess-like moves being made all around them. Mirza and Mir come to represent the weakness and apathy of the Indian people (the film was made in 1977 during a major democratic crisis in modern India) as they ignore not only the political activity surrounding them, but also the sexual dissatisfaction of their wives, who both find new lovers. Using exquisite performances, and a perfectionist's eye for detail, Ray conjures a historical epic and tells a strange tale of a self-involved and emasculated people in danger of losing everything. As is frequently the case in the films of Satyajit Ray, there are no villains and there are no heroes, only meticulously imagined pawns in a grand historical and sociological game.


Video Features DVD, Aspect Ratio 1.33:1, English, Subtitled

Technical Info

Release Information
Video Mfg Name Studio: Kino Video
Video Release Date Release Date: 4/18/2006
Video Play Time Running Time: 115 minutes
Video Release Year Original Release Date: 1977
Video UPC UPC: 00738329040826
Video Number of Discs Number of Discs: 1

Audio & Video
Video Original Language Original Language: Urdu
Video Audio Spec Available Audio Tracks: Urdu
Video Subtitle Available Subtitles: English
Video Color Spec Video: Color

Aspect Ratio
Video Aspect Ratio Standard  1.33:1 [4:3]

Cast & Crew

Video Cast Info Farida Jalal
Video Cast Info Saeed Jaffrey
Video Cast Info Sanjeev Kumar
Video Cast Info Shabana Azmi
Video Cast Info Dulal Dutta - Editor
Video Cast Info Satyajit Ray - Original Music By
Video Cast Info Satyajit Ray - Director
Video Cast Info Shama Zaidi - Writer
Video Cast Info Soumendu Roy - Cinematographer
Video Cast Info Suresh Jindal - Producer

Professional Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
"Director Satyajit Ray takes on India's colonial past in a refined satire about an ambitious British general..." -- Grade: B 04/21/2006 p.63

New York Times
"Ray's first historical epic and a surprisingly adventurous film, one that breaks with the naturalism of his early work and imposes an explicitly allegorical structure." 04/18/2006 p.E3

4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] sophisticated, wise and trenchant entertainment." 09/01/2007 p.122

Sight and Sound
"Ray's visually sumptuous, astute and surprisingly comic drama examines the British takeover of the Indian kingdom of Oudh in 1856..." 10/01/2007 p.85

BBC Films Review 8 of 10
The slow pace can make it tedious to watch at times, but for Ray, allowances should be made. It is the work of a master, and therefore demands your full attention. - Sandy Chaitram

Product Attributes

Product attributeActor:   Kumar,Sanjeev
Product attributeLabel:   Kino International
Product attributeMusic Format:   DVD
Product attributeVideo Format:   DVD
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