David Lean’S Interpolation on the Film Version of a Passage to India: Artistic or Commercial?

Mahbuba Fahmee
Assistance Professor Shah Ahmed
20th Century English Fiction (Eng-604)
4 May 2011
David Lean’s interpolation on the film version of A passage to India: artistic or commercial?
    A Passage to India is a book about a passage, which leads us to a small city Chandrapore, a city under British colonization. And some stereotype British characters for whom India is a “civilizing mission”, or Rudyard Kipling’s famous line “the white man’s burden” (A Passage). The passage also leads us to the caves, the ancient, ungovernable unexplainable India. It is a book which explores the sentiment of a common Indian man, an oriental, though written by an English man, E. M. Froster. Although Forster began writing the book in 1913, just after his first visit to India, the novel was not finished until well after his second visit. Finally published in 1924, A Passage to India examines the racial misunderstandings and cultural hypocrisy that characterized the complex relations between Indians and the English towards the end of the British occupation of India. The book failed to attract the appreciation of the English readers as because it shows the actual picture of the British Raj. But it did attract the attention of a famous British director David Lean. Lean was one of those film directors who brought many grand literary pieces into the world of films, gave them life.
    David Lean, who started his career as a tea boy in Gaumont Studios best remembered for bringing Charles Dickens's novels to the screen with films such as Great Expectations (1946) and Oliver Twist (1948), and for his big-screen epics such as The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Doctor Zhivago (1965), Ryan's Daughter (1970), and A Passage to India (1984). He was at the same time a film director, producer, screenwriter, and editor (Wiki). David Lean directed motion pictures with an acknowledged awareness of his actions and a stated set of intentions and expectations about...