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The Chess Players [DVD]

Sanjeev Kumar , Amjad Khan , Satyajit Ray    Universal, suitable for all   DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
Price: 7.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

The Chess Players [DVD] + The Apu Trilogy: Pather Panchali/Aparajito/The World Of Apu [DVD] + Satyajit Ray Collection Vol.1 [DVD]
Price For All Three: 55.16

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Product details

  • Actors: Sanjeev Kumar, Amjad Khan, Saeed Jaffrey, Shabana Azmi, Richard Attenborough
  • Directors: Satyajit Ray
  • Format: Colour, PAL
  • Language: Hindi
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Jun 2007
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000PE0JUM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,834 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

A lavish costume drama set in Lucknow in 1856. Two indolent chess-obsessed nobleman, neglecting their families, continuing to play while the Maharajah, an effete poet-musician, is being dethroned by the British East India Company. The two noblemen, fearful that they may be forced to fight for their ruler, run away and continue their chess game away from the politcal storm. Eventually they end up fighting bitterly with each other. Ray's first film in Hindi offers political comments on Anglo-Indian relations, utilising the pawns and queens of the chess board as strong metaphors for the colonial situation.

Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Colourful and critical - but oblique 17 Dec 2007
When I first discovered the films of Satyajit Ray, I was a boy in Calcutta and he was in the middle of shooting The Chess Players. Ray, of course, was a veritable god in Calcutta and the papers were full of reports about the progress of the film, his most expensive until then and his first in a language other than Bengali. When Richard Attenborough arrived to do his scenes, the excitement heightened further - a real live British actor coming to work in a sweltering, primitive Calcutta studio! Just before the film was released, there were reports that Bollywood distributors had conspired to keep it out of theatres in north India (the interview with Saeed Jaffrey on this disc tries to probe the issue). Nobody, of course, could keep it out of Ray's own city and we were absolutely captivated by our hero's magnificent new creation. The sets, the costumes, the music, the acting all drew the highest praise locally, although Marxists and Marxoids inevitably grumbled about Ray's "wimpy" portrayal of imperialism.

Nationally and internationally, the film has had a rougher ride - there is little consensus on its position in Ray's corpus and many critics (Derek Malcolm, Stanley Kauffmann) have considered it to be a minor work. I think The Chess Players, in many ways, is one of Ray's finest films, but I can also see why it doesn't sweep people off their feet. The structure of the film is itself challenging - the two strands of the story are never brought together very clearly and Ray leaves the viewer to grasp the parallels between the two chess players playing their interminable game and General Outram taking over the province of Awadh from its legitimate ruler Wajid Ali Shah.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite and fine movie. 31 May 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This is an exquisite film. It focusses on two friends, avid chessplayers both to the exclusion of all else. They play chess- whilst the British take over Lucknow. Excellent imagery, capturing the richness of this Islamic civilisation that was Lucknow before the British took over. Some brilliant performances.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Chessplayers ( of Oudh) 5 Dec 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I think that this is one of the best films about Oudh and the British during the Raj.
As a Lucknowi I can assure you that the way of life depicted in this film is authentic. The slow pace and studied nonchalance of the two players is exactly - Nawabi Lucknow.
Rich beyond belief Avadh ( Oudh) was a kingdom that the British slavered for. They took it with guile and the impotence of the pleasure loving Nawab of Avadh ( Amjad Khan) to make any decision with regard to his kingdom. Khan brings the pained ringleted Nawab to life , nothing matters to him except the next dance move, the fleeting stanza of a poem.......
Sayeed jaffry & Sanjeev Kumar ARE the chess players and the nuances of their relationship as complicated & convoluted as that of the British & Lucknowis !
Richard Attenborough is effectual as an ineffectual Britisher. His attitude very much " I want it and therefore it is mine!" The moves within the film are slow and thoughtful , but it gives the viewer the time and space to consider the underlying emotions that eventually decide the outcome of this once peaceful though beleaguered kingdom.
What can I say about this Satyajit Ray film except that it is crafted with excellence as expected of him.

I would suggest that the person who views this film see 'Janoon'
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5.0 out of 5 stars staggering 11 Jun 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
staggering staggering staggering in its visual subtleties, its endlessly folded situating of the brutal wound of British imperial rule as suffered at the level of an affront between unequal equals, all in a way unequal to their own vileness or their own good. However it is always clear who is not civilised in this narrative, the vulgar Goves of this world should be chained to watch it until they begin to glimpse their own shallowness.
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5.0 out of 5 stars DVD The Chess Players 25 Mar 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A great DVD and I watch it often, the postage and packing was also good and I am very happy with this product
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