A Throw of Dice Reviews
The film itself is a gem, it's stunning visuals helping to create a fairy tale within it's own world. It does justice to the romantic ideal of India and does so with great charm and ease. The film is loosely based on the Mahabharata and is at it's heart a love story, and a fairly good one at that. The film opens in the middle of a dangerous hunt, the two participants are two kings (Ranjit played by Charu Roy and Sohan played by Himansu Rai) who will find themselves vying for the love of the beautiful peasant girl Sunita (played by Seeta Devi). The narrative and most of the plot elements are fairly typical and are probably the most outdated aspect of the film where much of the story itself appears clich√?¬© and even at times pretty silly. However to dwell to long on these aspects of the film is to miss the point, being that the film is a visual stunner. The exotic locals, fantastic costumes and set pieces overflow the film with character. The scope of the film also cannot be understated, it really is a site to behold as the camera maneuvers it's way down to street level in a city filled to the brim with extras. These extras are essentially just local people doing it for nothing and it lends such a credibility and a certain unexplainable charm which is a part of nearly every frame of film.
The film is still struggles to overcome a couple faults, one being the character of Ranjit one of the kings. He is constatntly being placed under siege by king Sohan, a rival leader pushing for control of his kingdom. During the hunt Sohan sends one of his subordinates to assassinate Ranjit, the assassin ultimately fails but succeeds in seriously injuring Ranjit. Ranjit is helped to a small hut off the hunting trail. This is where he meets Sunita and this where the core of the story launches itself from. Ranjit ends up brushing off the botched assassination attempt as a harmless mistake but throughout the film seems to consistently convince himself that Sohan is not a threat and completely dismisses evidence to the contrary, eventually he nearly loses everything to... you guessed it, a throw of dice due to his seemingly insatiable quench for gambling. Unfortunately this sort of obliviousness that Ranjit displays through the film makes him hard to root for or really care about, I mean how has a guy like this managed to stay in power for so long?
Another fault of the movie is what seems to come off as a pretty unconvincing love between Ranjit and Sunita which becomes the most predominate part of the film fairly early on. The problem is that despite the film being described as an epic, it's actually less than 80 minutes long and so the building of a convincing relationship is left to the mercy of a short running time.
A Throw of Dice is ultimately a good film made great through the strength of it's visuals. The composition of many shots are brilliant, the life and spectacle of the film can be tremendous at times, it's truly a great film to viewed. Despite my own personal inexperience with Indian cinema, I find it hard to imagine this not remaining a favorite from the silent era for me. Also a special note is that on the Kino released DVD of the film, which is the one I viewed, there is a fantastic score by composer Nitin Sawhney which fits the film so well. It really is one of the best aspects of the film and helps make the more romantic scene's more romantic, the excitement more exciting the film more involving.
As old silent movies, with ridiculously huge budgets go... this one is a must see!
Regardless, this will be of interest to silent movie buffs.
The story of a king who is mad gambler but scores big when he wins in a dice game & wins the most beautiful woman in the land.
the husband of this woman vows to save her & wins back everything his castle, woman & servants in another game of dice 20 years later.
Beautiful locations, exotic costumes & unforgettable art direction. It's a great film that looks better than ever now due to its careful restoration, a timeless early Bollywood classic.