A haunting tale of the love of an English officer for an Indian princess set against the splendour of Imperial India in the last century.
Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Release Date: 1-JAN-2002
Media Type: DVD
A TALE OF ROMANCE AND DERRING DO IN COLONIAL INDIA...
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 12/30/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Based upon M. M. Kaye's best selling novel of the same name, this film is well acted and absorbing. It is a story set during the time of the British Raj in India. The two characters central to the film are Ash (Ben Cross), an Englishman who spent the formative years of his life believing that he was Indian, and Anjuli (Amy Irving), a half caste Indian princess. Ash and Anjuli spent a portion of their childhood growing up together, until palace intrigues forced Ash and his Indian foster mother to flee. As a prepubescent youth, he is informed of his English heritage and sent to England for his education and Anglicization.
Returning to India many years later as a young man, Ash becomes a part of a British regiment called the Guides. He has some difficulties adjusting, as he is not an Englishman comfortable in his own skin, as he also feels that is Indian in many ways, a view that brings him into conflict with the way the native Indian population is viewed by the British. Meanwhile, Anjuli has continued living as a half caste Indian princess. She and Ash have not seen each other since he and his foster Indian mother fled, and she has no idea that Ash is not Indian, but British.
The film is an amazing cornucopia of adventure, derring do, and romance. It provides a tantalizing glimpse into colonial India. All of this, however, merely serves to propel the story towards the uniting of Ash and Anjuli, as the film is, first and foremost, a love story set against the romantic and lush backdrop of colonial India. When the paths of these star crossed lovers intersect, it is under a most unusual set of circumstances. It is a story that will keep the viewer riveted to the screen. I, myself, was unable to tear myself away from the screen and was riveted for the full five hours that it took for this mesmerizing tale of adventure, love, and treachery to unfold.
With a star studded cast that includes the likes of Omar Shariff, Christopher Lee, Sir John Gielgud, and Rossano Brazzi, this is a film what will capture the viewer's imagination. I read and loved the novel upon which this film was based, and while it is not a faithful adaptation of that wonderful book, the film stands on its own considerable merits. It is meant to entertain and that it most certainly does.
This two disc DVD is somewhat limited in what it offers, however, in terms of features, which is limited to a scene index, some production notes, and a brief biography of M.M. Kaye. In terms of its quality, while the sound is good, the visuals are somewhat grainy at times and washed out looking. It is too bad that they decided to do the transfer from video to DVD on the cheap. In doing so, they did "The Far Pavilions" a disservice. Still, it is a DVD well worth having in one's collection, as the story is such a gripping tale."
Dianne Foster | USA | 05/09/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have not read the book THE FAR PAVILIONS and did not see the original film version--which was longer, apparently--however, I did find this DVD entertaining, colorful, and long enough (six hours). It sounds trite, but I suppose you might consider PAVILIONS a 'feast for the eye."PAVILIONS was partially shot the state of Jaipur in India and many of the buildings shown in various scenes date from the Mogul dynasty. In case you don't know, the Moguls reigned before the British came to India in the 1600s. I'm sure the buildings destroyed in the fighting scenes between Afghans and British and Indian soldiers were sets, but they too are quite good. The shots of the marriage procession from Rawalpindi displays a cast of hundreds with plenty of livestock including gaily painted elephants. When one of the princesses says she's sick from riding in the royal litter mounted on the back of an elephant I can see why. The darn things bobble about like corks on a wind-swept pond. The marriage journey takes several days and includes Indian-style camping scenes that are both frightening and intriguing. I was sure someone was going to be stomped by one of those big elephant feet, but true to form the British soldier (Ashe) takes charge and gets the camp sqared away. In spite of the fine cinematograpy, I can't give the DVD 5 stars. PAVILIONS is a fluffy action/romance tale not high art. Sorry if that sounds snobby, but JEWEL IN THE CROWN ruined me. That's the reason you should never read good literature--it ruins you for the "good read' which I am sure PAVILION is. So, if you enjoyed the book you will probably love the DVD.I found the plot incredibly predictable and thin. Ashe/Ashtok and Anjuli have far too much access to each other. In the 19th century, English women would not have "run around the camp" at night and they were much more liberated than Hindu women. The typical single female from the royal Hindu stock would have been guarded like a hawk, always accompanied by another woman, and never allowed to be alone with a man--let alone a member of the British Raj (and, social intercourse was verboten between the races). The "excuses" for the chance meetings between Ashe/Ashtok and Anjuli, including some on-screen intercourse of the more carnel sort, make for spicy entertainment, but lack verismilitude. And, the character Anjuli is inconsistention. On the one hand she ignores social convention and becomes involved with the Raj, on the other hand, she supports her selfish, homicidal, half-sibling due either to her social training or to her 'honor' I am not sure which. M.M. Kaye wrote her book after her former book agent Paul Scott had published his book JEWEL IN THE CROWN. Supposedly, Kaye herself was Anglo-Indian, and I assume PAVILIONS is somehow based on her own ancestral story as she was the descendent of British Raj and Hindu royalty. When she wrote her book, Kaye had read JEWEL, which was published some ten years before PAVILIONS. Her book is supposed to be the "reverse" love story where the woman is the person of mixed race. I might have found this more plausible if the actress playing Anjuli had not been Amy Irving. If you don't know who Amy is, you'll probably enjoy the film more than I did, but unfortunately, I know she's a really fine Broadway actress whom I saw in CROSSING DELANCEY. Actually, I would have preferred Selma Hayak in the role of Anjuli, and someone more Anglo than Ben Cross in the role of Ashe/Ashok--some one like Joseph Fiennes perhaps. Ben Cross actually looks more Indian than Amy Irving (even with her skin dyed), which is disconcerting since he's supposed to be the "daring" Sahib who jeapardizes his British connections to be with the "inferior" Anjuli.Most of the major characters meet a violent death. I won't say if Ashe and Anjuli are together in the end, but M.M. Kaye was undecided until the last moment as to whether they would be. (I know this from reading Scott's biography which includes some of her letters to him regarding PAVILIONS.)If you enjoy action/romance tales, I recommend the film in spite of my criticism. The only caveat I offer is that you might want to watch PAVILIONS before you see the JEWEL IN THE CROWN. JEWEL will ruin you. (Both were released in 1984 by the BBC.) JEWEL is the kind of film you keep thinking about maybe for the rest of your life."
Great movie, terrible DVD
Rick | Schenectady, NY United States | 07/05/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"i was so looking forward to the DVD verison of this film. i had taped the entire 6 hours when it was on HBO so many years ago. i missed the narrater intoducing the next parts, and the picture quality, which i expected to be outstanding didn't happen. they took a print and ran it to a DVD, no fixing, no nothing. when i want to watch this one, i put in the old VCR tape, it's better and clearer than the DVD. hard to believe! the people that put this one together didn't give a "flip" about the movie.to bad..."
Excellent picturization and impressive acting
Lawyeraau | 09/08/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I loved 'Far pavillions' the book. I got myself the video after I read the book from end to end. The good thing about the movie is that the picturization is perfect. Like all other Ishmail Merchant movies, Far Pavillions is finely done with lots of attention paid to the details. My only complaint is that the director did not spend much time on Ash's (the hero's)childhood and just showed bits of it during the titles. Ash's grown up life has a lot to do with the childhood that he spent at Gulkote. None of that is shown. There are times when it feels as though the film maker is trying to fast forward things. I know that this is a 5 hour film, but then it is based on a book that is at leat 1000 pages long and took 14 years to complete. Why not give the author some credit for her work. I like the way india has been depicted and both the lead actors (Ben cross) and the lady who plays Anjuli did a great job. The cast also includes some famous Indian and Holywood actors like Saeed Jaffery, Omar Sharief, Rossano Brazi etc. If you love the book, you will probably love the film. The only problem is that you will feel it is all on fast forward."
Amazing! Brings Colonial India To Life.
Natalie. | Leicester, Leicestershire United Kingdom | 02/26/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a great fan of the book, I was slightly apprehensieve about seeing the TV series. However, I really feel it does the book justice and brings the characters and India to life with its fantastic scenery and sumptuous costumes. Amy Irving is perfect as Anjuli and although unsure at first of Ben Cross's performance, I soon warmed to him as Ash. The picture on the DVD was really good, as was the sound. A must see DVD for anyone who is interested in the history of India."