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In 1977's The Chess Players, Satyajit Ray, India's "extraordinary filmmaker" (George Lucas), turned his celebrated eye for everyday life on his own country's troubled history. Made during Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's era of press censorship and curtailed constitutional rights, The Chess Players dared to examine India's future through its past. In the kingdom of Awadh, rich landowners Meer (Saeed Jaffrey, The Man Who Would Be King) and Mirza (Sanjeev Kumar, Sholay) pour every ounce of passion into a never-ending game of chess. At the same time, an ambitious British General (Sir Richard Attenborough, Jurassic Park) plots his own moves against Awadh's King (Amjad Khan) and Prime Minister (Victor Banerjee, A Passage to India), in the hope of taking the region for his Queen. Heedless of their political and family responsibilities, Mirza and Meer keep playing. But as British soldiers march on their homeland, an innocent game escalates into deadly confrontation and catastrophic loss. Rich, poor, winner or loser, everyone is revealed to be history's pawn. A film of "exquisite performances" (Variety) and epic sweep, The New York Times praised The Chess Players for "the manner in which an entire civilization has been encapsulated in a few particular gestures." Adapted from a short story by Hindi author Munshi Premchand, The Chess Players evenly examines both colonial greed and Indian aristocratic indolence with the same dramatic scrutiny. His first-ever historical drama, The Chess Players is imbued with the same "deep observation, understanding and love of the human race" (Akira Kurosawa) that made Satyajit Ray one of the preeminent figures of international cinema.

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KI4082 Chess Players DVD (1977/Satyajit Ray) $29.95 $26.99