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The film, The Chess Players gives a detailed analysis of the events that took place before the infamous Indian rebellion that occurred in the year 1857. During this period, religious leaders who focused mainly on pleasure and spiritual practices governed different societies and communities in this region. Traditional chess was a common form of leisure associated with many wealthy people. The purpose of this paper is to describe what this game symbolizes in the targeted movie.
The Game of Chess in the Selected Film
The British manage to overthrow the leader of the identified Indian Awadh or kingdom due to poor coordination and his inability to pursue the needs of all followers. In the film, the viewer learns more about the interesting story of Mir Roshan Al and Mirza Sajjad Ali who appear to be obsessed with an ancient form of chess known as shatranj (The Chess Players). The Nawab or leader of this community remains extravagant, thereby finding it hard to control or oppose every intention the British undertake to overthrow him.
With the above kind of leisure, the viewer observes that many people are unable to oppose the seizure of the Awadh kingdom by the British soldiers. The described noblemen abandon their relatives, wives, and friends and decide to hide in a remote village that has not witnessed the unfolding events (The Chess Players). The rulers appear to have detached themselves from the challenges many people continue to face.
From this representation, it is evident that the director of this film uses shatranj to symbolize several elements or things that define the targeted society. The first one is that it depicts the kind of disorganization that many people in Awadh experience. This is true since its leader appears to prefer pleasure instead of protecting his followers (The Chess Players). Those who embrace this game do not have enough time to follow the aims or activities that matter in their lives. They also fail to consider activities that can meet the needs of different community members.
The second aspect is that chess depicts the inability of the ruling class and elites of Awadh to collaborate and address things that matter the most. Since the two noblemen presented in this film embrace shatranj more than anything else in their lives, they end up losing numerous opportunities and resources (The Chess Players). Consequently, their dedication to shatranj is what makes it easier for the British to colonize Awadh and acquire different resources.
Thirdly, shatranj can signify the inferiority of different Indians living in the selected society. They ignore every important thing in life even though they are rich and have adequate resources. This misbehavior is what eventually costs them their freedom, thus being unable to achieve their objectives in life (The Chess Players). The desire to play chess in a different village that has not experienced turmoil or conflict is a clear indication that many Indians in the depicted society are unable to confront foreign rule or pressure from the British.
The above discussion has analyzed the concept of symbolism and how filmmakers use it to deliver the intended message to the viewer. Shatranj depicts the leadership inadequacies, primitiveness, and disorganization that made it possible for the British to colonize Awadh. Consequently, this kind of portrayal explains how such an addiction led to the loss of freedom in India.
Ray, Satyajit, director. The Chess Players. Kino Video, 1977.