Adapted from Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's 1975 Booker prize-winning novel, Heat and Dust is told in two interconnected storylines about female awakening.
Anne (Julie Christie), is drawn to India by her desire to unravel a mysterious family scandal, and, in a flashback to the 1920s, the events surrounding the seduction of her great-aunt Olivia (Greta Scacchi) by a handsome and charismatic, if not entirely scrupulous, Indian prince (Shashi Kapoor). Anne’s quest proves to be a journey of self-discovery – like Olivia, she is immersed in the allure of an India that, in a different way, has remained as sensual and romantic as it was half a century before.
India is portrayed with seductive imagery juxtaposed alongside British colonial traditions. Evident in many Merchant Ivory films here the cinematography captures a languor and authenticity that burns through the frame with vigour.
Winner of the 1984 BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay - Ruth Prawer Jhabvala