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Indian director V. Shantaram paid tribute to German Expressionist cinema with this florid, Indianized remake of Josef von Sternberg's classic The Blue Angel.
A remake of Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel by the great Indian director and social reformer V. Shantaram, Pinjra retains the core of the original film's story — an upright teacher who falls from grace when he falls in love with a seductive dancer — but Indianizes it in both setting and theme. Where The Blue Angel was on a certain level a bourgeois horror story about the corruptive (and seductive) influence of the underclass as embodied in Marlene Dietrich's Lola, in Pinjra Shantaram valourizes his heroine Chandrakala (Sandhya), dancer of the lowly tamasha, a robust, sexy folk song and dance. Shantaram draws on religion and literature to defend Chandrakala's profession: when she does an erotic dance in a river, the accompanying song refers to Lord Krishna stealing the clothes of bathing women; later, the classic Sanskrit poet-playwright Kalidasa is quoted to validate the affair between the dancer and her teacher-social reformer lover. But Pinjra also packs in plenty of melodramatic twists to suit Indian tastes, culminating in the teacher being sentenced to death for killing . . . himself!
Please note that the run time of Pinjra is 180 minutes, not 150 minutes as it was listed in our publications. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause.