Satyajit Ray's The Chess Players

Andrew Robinson recalls conversations with the famous director about his work, and in particular the recently re-released Urdu film, The Chess Players, made in the 1970s, which explores events surrounding the British annexation of Oudh in 1856.

'IT'S A VERY, VERY COMPLEX mixed kind of thing, the entire British heritage in India', the great Bengali film-maker Satyajit Ray (1921-92) told me when I interviewed him at length for a biography in the 1980s:

I think many of us owe a great deal to it. I'm thankful for the fact that at least I'm familiar with both cultures and it gives me a very much stronger footing as a film-maker, but Fm also aware of all the dirty things that were being done. I really don't know how I feel about it.

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