Beautifully restored by the BFI National Archive, this silent film gem premiered as the Archive Gala at the LFF last year when funky sitarist Anoushka Shankar unveiled her newly commissioned score for the film with a live orchestral performance.
If you weren’t lucky enough to see that – or any of the performances she did touring India with the movie last year – here’s your chance to revel in splendour of the film and the music on it’s DVD release. It looks and sounds wonderful, restored from a 1928 print, Shiraz is an epic tale of a stolen princess who is loved by two men, one a powerful Prince, the other (Shiraz himself) is the son of a village potter. The film says this was the love story and unrequited passion that lead to the building of the Taj Mahal.
There are battles, deserts, horses, big crowd scenes, slave markets and elephants.. The film is ravishingly shot, and gets pretty raunchy for its time. But it’s Anoushka’s score that hauls it into the modern, with a beguiling mix of classical Indian sounds and ragas blending with more Western elements, sometimes enchanting with its sitar runs, or finding a funky groove as emotions stir. Her father Ravi, who scored a few legendary movies in his day, would have been proud.
To win a copy of this Dual Format Edition (both DVD and Blu-ray discs), courtesy of the BFI, tell me: to which famous Indian film trilogy did Ravi Shankar compose the soundtracks, and who directed them?
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