Jewel In The Crown is a critically-acclaimed drama adaptation based on the Raj Quartet novels by Paul Scott. Set in the fictional city of Mayapore between 1942 and 1947--the years leading up to Indian independence--,it examines the complex relationship which existed between the British Empire and its "subjects", and depicts the lives and loves of people caught in the turbulence of India struggling to break the chains of oppression. The series specifically centres on the experiences of a public school-educated Indian named Hari Kumar (Art Malik), who is falsely accused of raping a British school girl. Whilst incarcerated, Hari is bullied and tortured by a sadistic British officer (played by Tim Pigott-Smith), who is aware of his innocence.
First off, let me say that 'The Raj Quartet' by Paul Scott - the four novels from which 'The Jewel in the Crown' was adapted - is one of the greatest pieces of literature ever written. Every sentence is as sublimely perfect as something written by Jane Austen; yet the scope and sweep of this epic story is enough to rival Leo Tolstoy's 'War and Peace', particularly in the way it effortlessly moves from panoramic to personal drama. The most staggering thing, however, is how the characters are so acutely real and multi-dimensional. They are all distinct individuals with unique thoughts and personalities.
The only reason I have given this four stars instead of five is that some of the detail is lost from the books, but it does about as much justice as thirteen hours can possibly do to a total of over two thousand pages. Sensibly, the dramatist Ken Taylor chose to select a few storylines and develop them fully, rather than cram in the entire story and make it feel rushed. The presentation is so beautifully nuanced, with so many subtleties and hidden gems, that you will have to watch it many times to fully appreciate the immense care heaped upon this production by everyone involved.
The story is set in India during World War Two. It chronicles the years leading up to the granting of Indian Independence in 1947.... Read more ›
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