The Householder (1963)

Discussion in 'Archive' started by llanes13, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. llanes13

    llanes13 Guest



    Rating: 7.0/10
    Runtime: 100
    Language: English
    Country: India
    Color: Black & White

    Director: James Ivory
    Shashi Kapoor ... Prem Sagar
    Leela Naidu ... Indu
    Durga Khote ... The Mother
    Achala Sachdev ... Mrs. Saigal
    Harindranath Chattopadhyay ... Mr. Chadda (as Harin Chattopadayaya)
    Pahadi Sanyal ... The Swami (as Pahari Sanyal)
    Romesh Thapar ... Mr. Khanna
    Walter Woolf King ... Professor (as Walter King)
    Patsy Dance ... Kitty
    Indu Lele ... Mrs. Khanna
    Prayag Raj ... Raj (as Prayag Raaj)
    Pinchoo Kapoor ... Mr. Saigal
    Praveen Paul ... 2nd Lady
    Usha Amin ... 1st Lady
    Shama Beg ... Mrs. Raj

    Description: Ismail Merchant and James Ivory's first film in collaboration with writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, The Householder is the story of a shy, young, underpaid Delhi schoolteacher who marries and then, little by little, gets to know his young wife during their first year together. She is a charmer with a mind of her own, yet is as little prepared for marriage as he. Their story is full of a variety of subtle but shining pleasures and charming touches of humour. The characters they encounter are unforgettable, especially his mother-in-law, a tearful tyrant who comes to live with them, and the platitudinous headmaster and obsequious senior master at the school. The special wonder of this story derived from the culture of modern, middle-class India is that it is able to transcend national boundaries and relate to the problems common to young couples everywhere.

    A prelude to their later films returning to India, such as the better known Shakespeare Wallah and Heat and Dust, The Householder bears the fingerprints of what was to become (and indeed still is) an almost perfect pairing of producer and director. The Californian-born Ivory displays a gentle touch with the camera, with close ups of the young couple as they try to come to grips with each other, while also managing to show how familiarity with the surrounding environment transfigures it for the people that live there. As the teacher, Shashi Kapoor gives a fine performance portraying just the right amount of vulnerability, uncertainty and naivety and yet brings a sense of determination and resolve to the role. An important step on the path towards their subsequent triumphs, and an enthralling film in its own right.

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