James Ivory

Bombay Talkie

Bombay Talkie

Starring Shashi Kapoor and Jennifer Kendal, Bombay Talkie is Merchant Ivory's affectionate, bemused view of Bollywood—India's huge dream factory. The film is like a brightly colored, sumptuous Indian sweet covered in gold foil, and cameraman Subrata Mitra's ravishing photography has never been surpassed in any other of James Ivory's films. The story, set off by elaborate studio numbers, is a melodrama echoing those of Bombay's mass audience movies and the sexy best sellers of the film's heroine, American authoress Lucia Lane (Jennifer Kendal). Visiting India in search of "new material," she becomes romantically involved with handsome movie star Vikram (Shashi Kapoor). When that doesn't work out, she flees to an ashram to take up the spiritual life. That also, hilariously, doesn't work out, and the ill-fated couple get together again with explosive results.

Film Info

  • James Ivory
  • United States
  • 1970
  • 112 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.78:1
  • English

Special Features

  • New digital transfer, enhanced for widescreen televisions
  • Helen, Queen of the Nautch Girls, a documentary short film about the legendary Bollywood dancer Helen
  • Conversation with the filmmakers, part of a new series of interviews with Ismail Merchant, James Ivory, and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

Special Features

  • New digital transfer, enhanced for widescreen televisions
  • Helen, Queen of the Nautch Girls, a documentary short film about the legendary Bollywood dancer Helen
  • Conversation with the filmmakers, part of a new series of interviews with Ismail Merchant, James Ivory, and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

Bombay Talkie
Cast
Shashi Kapoor
Vikram
Jennifer Kendal
Lucia Lane
Zia Mohyeddin
Hari
Aparna Sen
Mala
Utpal Dutt
Bose
Credits
Director
James Ivory
Producer
Ismail Merchant
Screenplay
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Screenplay
James Ivory
Cinematography
Subrata Mitra
Music
Shankar Jalkishan

Explore

Ismail Merchant and James Ivory

Producer, Director

For five decades, the name Merchant Ivory has been an imprimatur signaling a certain type of quality cinema: literate, sumptuous, classical. But the more than fifty films made by the production team named for Ismail Merchant and James Ivory are distinguished by more than just their glossiness: multivalent, morally complex, and inquisitive, these works, shot all over the world (from Delhi to Paris to New England), are stories of class and of social change, of cultures divided and clashing. Merchant and Ivory (born in Bombay and Berkeley, respectively) met in 1961 and became partners in life and in work shortly thereafter; their company was founded with the idea of making English-language features (directed by Ivory, produced by Merchant) in India for the international market. These first films include The Householder (1963), based on the book by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who wrote the adaptation herself and instantly became an integral part of the company, and Shakespeare Wallah (1965). Soon, Merchant Ivory was shooting films in England, the United States, and elsewhere. Over the years, they have adapted novels by such writers as Henry James, E. M. Forster, and Kazuo Ishiguro into sophisticated works in their own right—their multiple-Oscar-winning Howards End (1992) is often considered their artistic pinnacle. Merchant died in 2005, but Ivory has kept the company going; The City of Your Final Destination, released in 2010, was the first “posthumous” Merchant Ivory film.