Feb 04

The Jewel in the Crown, television series ????
This is a 14 part series based on a historical novel about the last days of the British rule in India. It is really three interwoven stories in one, first, the story of Indian independence, second, the story of the British in India at the same time, and third, the complex interweavings of a few British folk living in India at the time. The story starts with a Indian Hari Kumar who grew up and schooled in England returning to India, and finding himself a misfit, rejected by the British for the color of his skin, and by the Indians for not being Indian enough. He falls in love with an English girl, the girl who is eventually killed, and the blame placed by an incompetent overbearing police person Ronald Merrick on Hari. Hari is imprisoned, not to make a showing until the very last two minutes of the entire series. In the meantime, you follow the friends and acquaintances of R. Merrick and the deceased girl through the years 1942 to 1947. One gets a feel of the caring, yet also the pompous arrogance and racism of the British living in India at the time, and the Indian public response to that. Unlike the film Ghandi, which is mostly from the Indian perspective, this film offers primarily the British perspective, yet is fair enough to paint the the British not only for all their virtues, but also for all their faults. The story line sometimes drags, thus giving the series a 4 rather than 5 star rating. Otherwise, it will keep you interested up to the end, especially as to the person you most hate in the story (Ronald Merrick), finally offering due justice to him. This film is supposed to offer a fair perspective of India in the era of independence. Not having been there, I could only assume that those Indians that recommended the film were accurate in that assessment.

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