The Chess Players

The Chess Players

Infobox Film
name = Shatranj Ke Khilari

image_size =
caption =
director = Satyajit Ray
producer =
writer = Munshi Premchand,
Satyajit Ray
narrator =
starring =
music =
cinematography =
editing =
distributor =
released = March 10, 1977
runtime = 129 min
country = India
language = Urdu
budget =
gross =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
website =
amg_id =
imdb_id = 0076696

"Shatranj Ke Khilari" ("The Chess Players") is a 1977 film by Bengali director Satyajit Ray, based on the short story of the same name by Munshi Premchand, featuring the actors Sanjeev Kumar, Saeed Jaffrey, David Abraham and Tom Alter. Richard Attenborough plays the role of General James Outram, and Amjad Khan plays the role of Avadh king Wajid Ali Shah. Unlike most of Ray's films, the dialogue in the film is in Urdu and Hindi.

The film is set in 1856 and shows the life and customs of 19th century India at the eve of the Indian rebellion of 1857, and importantly the politics of colonial expansion by the British East India Company and the deluded divisions of Indian monarchs.

Ray was so impressed with Amitabh Bachchan that he decided to use his voice as commentary in "Shatranj Ke Khiladi" since he did not find any suitable role for him. []


*Sanjeev Kumar - Mirza Sajjad Ali
*Saeed Jaffrey - Mir Roshan Ali
*Shabana Azmi - Khurshid, Mirza's wife
*Farida Jalal - Nafisa, Mir's wife
*Amjad Khan - Wajid Ali Shah
*David Abraham - Munshi Nandlal
*Richard Attenbrough - General James Outram
*Victor Banerjee - Prime Minister
*Farooq Shaikh - Aqueel
*Tom Alter - Capt. Weston (Outram's aide de camp)
*Leela Mishra - Hirya, Khurshid's maid
*Samarth Narain - Kallu
*Bhudo Advani - Abbajani
*Amitabh Bachchan - (narrator)


The film shows in parallel the helpless, historical drama of the Indian kingdom Awadh (whose capital is Lucknow) and its Muslim king Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, who is captured by the British alongside the story of two chess-obsessed noblemen. Nawab, artist and poet, no longer in command, could do nothing but cry in poetic fashion, because the British had already signed with him a treaty of protection. Parallel to this drama is the personal (and sometimes humorous) tale of two rich noblemen of this kingdom, inseparable friends, who became passionately obsessed with the game of "shatranj",(chess), neglecting their wives.The role of Captain Weston, so British in his ways, but in love with Urdu poetry, is also worth noting.

In the last scene, after which Mir shoots at Mirza and complains out loud "I won't have a partner to play chess with", Mirza responds to him "but you have one in front of you!" (thus making him understand that he forgives him) and he finally concludes that "after nightfall, we will go back home. We both need darkness to hide our faces."


Filmfare Award for Best Director

External links

*imdb title|id=0076696|title=Shatranj Ke Khilari
* [ Shatranj Ke Khilari (]

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