The Indian Diaspora

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Hullabaloo Over Georgie & Bonnie's Pictures

Merchant-Ivory, USA/India

85 minutes

Starring
Dame Peggy Ashcroft
Victor Banerjee
Jane Booker
Saeed Jaffrey
Larry Pine
Aparna Sen

The film is about art collecting and collectors; it is also about Art versus Life; and, most of all, it is a light-hearted romp through royal India - a world of princes, palaces, tourists, precious art objects and the people who wheel and deal in them.
Georgie, the Maharaja of the film has a priceless collection of Indian miniature paintings rotting away in his store-room. He doesn't know their value from a monetary perspective, but they are invaluable to him as part of his heritage. His sister Bonnie cares nothing for their heritage, but is very aware of the monetary value. She is keen to sell them to buy something better for herself.
Art dealers and collectors vie with one another to get the pictures away from this royal couple. There is Lady Gee who is buying for a museum in Britain,( of exalted Anglo-Indian lineage, as well as a shrewd and knowledgeable art lover), feels she has a moral right to the pictures despite the fact that both she and the museum for which she is buying are impoverished. Her principal rival is an American millionaire art collector, Clark Haven, whose claim on the pictures is based on his passion for and understanding of them. An Indian art dealer, Sri Narian, works against both of them.

This hullabaloo over the pictures takes place within the palace and its gardens. It is enlivened by singers and dancers, a dwarf and a giant deaf-mute, a Xmas party complete with Santa Claus and fireworks, and the appearance of an English ghost. The climax involves the temporary loss of the pictures - an event which leads to a change of heart in the principal interiguers. Finally everyone realises that art is really as fleeting as life itself and that neither of them is to be depended upon for anything further than their brief moments of joyful fulfillment.

Thursday, November 7th, 9 pm

 
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