Scripted from an original concept by she and Ivory, Jhabvala cheekily places a thin veil over notable musical cross-pollination of the 1960s. Brit pop star Michael York makes a pilgrimage to Bombay to glom what he can about the sitar from Utpal Dutt alongside more studious Rita Tushingham, but the learning curve gets steeper once they all hit the road. Real-life sitarist Ustad Vilayat Khan provides the musical score.
Merchant Ivory’s little-seen short Autobiography of a Princess—originally made for British television—details the tea-party reunion of an Indian princess (Madhur Jaffrey), long divorced and living in self-exile in London, and her father’s ex-tutor, Cyril Sahib (James Mason), who together view home-movie footage of their former life in Royal India. While the recollections of the princess are selective and hazily nostalgic, Cyril’s memories about their common past and her father, the Maharaja, have left him disillusioned and appalled. A Cohen Film Collection release