This film was in a way the reverse of the theme of Shakespeare Wallah. This time it is the British who come to India for enlightenment in all things artistic and inspirational, instead of the other way around. A young English pop star named Tom Pickle, played by Michael York, goes to India to learn to play the sitar (a situation that parallels the real-life musical quest of George Harrison, who become the pupil of Ravi Shankar in the late 1960’s). Pickle has all sorts of adventures, the greatest of which is his stormy encounter with his guru: he cannot develop the necessary meekness of spirit that the study of Indian music requires, and in the end he returns to England accompanied by a young English girl (Rita Tushingham) that he meets on his travels. —Merchant Ivory Productions
Thanks to the content of his films, American director James Ivory has spent much of his long career being mistaken for an Englishman. Few filmmakers have been more closely associated with a particular type of genre than Ivory and his longtime collaborator, producer Ismail Merchant. The very mention of the hyphenate Merchant-Ivory effortlessly conjures up heavily stylized images of Edwardian England, replete with stiff upper lips, effete aristocrats, and young women confined by both corsets and repressed desire. However, although much of Ivory’s reputation has been built on his E.M. Forster-adapted period dramas, he has also earned considerable respect for the insightful examinations on the interplay of different cultures inherent in almost all of his work — particularly his earlier films about India — and his and Merchant’s ability to make quality films on a minimal budget.
Born in Berkeley, California, on June 7, 1928, Ivory grew up in Klamath Falls, Oregon, where his father… read more