Shakespeare Wallah

Shakespeare Wallah, India, 10 April 1965

Loosely based on the real-life actor-manager Geoffrey Kendal family and his "Shakespeareana Company" of travelling theatre, which earned him the Indian sobriquet, "Shakespearewallah". The film follows the story of nomadic British actors as they perform Shakespeare plays in towns in post-colonial India. In this story, Tony Buckingham (Geoffrey Kendal) and his wife Carla (Laura Liddell) oversee the troupe. Their daughter, Lizzie Buckingham (Felicity Kendal), falls in love with Sanju (Shashi Kapoor), who is also romancing Manjula (Madhur Jaffrey), a Bollywood film star.

In real life, Shashi Kapoor fell in love with Felicity's elder sister Jennifer Kendal. Their marriage would provide an important contribution to the Indian film industry until Kendal's death in 1984.

  • Genre: Thriller
  • Runtime: 136 Minutes
  • Director: James Ivory


Shakespeare Wallah is a 1965 Merchant Ivory Productions film. The story and screenplay are by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala about a travelling family theatre troupe of English actors in India, who perform Shakespeare plays in towns across India, amidst a dwindling demand for their work and the rise of Bollywood. Madhur Jaffrey won the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the 15th Berlin International Film Festival for her performance. The music was composed by Satyajit Ray.