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Satyajit Ray’s Shatranj Ke Khilari Colonialism, Politics and Art in Wajid Ali Shah’s Lucknow

Author Name: Biswadeep Chakraborty | Format: Paperback | Genre : Arts, Photography & Design | Other Details

Lucknow is a city with magnificent history, architecture, culture and literature where once great musicians, poets and artists were patronized by the rich city elites and Nawabs, who made it the mecca of Hindustani art and culture. This book speaks of the rich tradition, history and culture during the final days of Lucknow’s last Nawab, Wajid Ali Shah, through Satyajit Ray’s major motion picture Shatranj Ke Khiladi or The Chess Players. In this book, Ray’s narrative and socio-cultural representation of Lucknow are pitched against the original work of Munshi Premchand’s short story by the same name, from which it was inspired.

This work attempts to study Satyajit Ray’s Shatranj Ke Khiladi in light of the actual historical events of nineteenth-century Lucknow, just before its annexation by the Raj. This work will analyze that period as depicted by Ray on celluloid, and the theme broadly highlights or rather studies the ‘Imperial Manliness and Colonial Effeminacy’, ‘Politics of Annexation’, ‘Decadent Royalty’ and ‘Evolution of Performing Arts’ during the reign of Wajid Ali Shah.


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Biswadeep Chakraborty

Biswadeep Chakraborty is a PhD Research Scholar at the Department of History, Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, West Bengal. He was a UGC Project Fellow at the School of Cultural Texts and Records, Jadavpur University, Kolkata. He is presently based in Kolkata, researching on the print culture and book history of nineteenth-century Calcutta.