"Heat And Dust" Is Released

Heat and Dust (1983) is a Merchant Ivory Productions award winning film, with a screenplay by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala based upon her novel, Heat and Dust.

It was directed by James Ivory and produced by Ismail Merchant. Ivory performed tanpura for score music with Zakir Hussain's tabla.

According to the Museum of Broadcast Communications there was "a cycle of film and television productions which emerged during the first half of the 1980s, which seemed to indicate Britain's growing preoccupation with India, Empire and a particular aspect of British cultural history." In addition to Heat and Dust, this cycle also included The Jewel in the Crown (1984) and A Passage to India (1984). The film was entered into the 1983 Cannes Film Festival.

Two women, related but separated by one generation and 60 years, have parallel experiences in the evocative mystical environment of India in this period drama from producer Ismail Merchant and director James Ivory. Although a little slow-paced for some, and slightly confusing because the stories of the two women are intercut, the scenery and script evoke a time and place that mesmerize. Based on the 1975 novel by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, a long-time collaborator in Merchant-Ivory Productions, the story begins with Ann (Julie Christie) who discovers some letters written by her grandfather's first wife Olivia (Greta Scacchi) that open up a whole new world as Ann travels to India to continue researching her grandmother's past. The letters reveal that when she was young, the free-spirited grandmother fell in love with an Indian nobleman (Shashi Kapoor) and left her husband -- an administrator in the British colonial government -- for her lover. After Ann arrives in India, her life and the modern rush of cars and people are played off against flashbacks to Olivia's life in a colonial setting. When the environment of each woman is compared and the nature of their momentous decisions placed side-by-side, their rites of passage and the society that dominated their choices stand out in high relief. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala won "Best Adapted Screenplay" at the 1983 British Academy Awards for her script of Heat And Dust. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie Guide