Savage Revolt

Ava Gardner in Bhowani Junction (1956)

With the British preparing to leave India there is plenty of unrest which is why Col. Rodney Savage (Stewart Granger - Footsteps in the Fog) is posted to Bhowani Junction to provide military support to deal with the unrest. But there are some those who are born of both Indian and British parents who are conflicted by the imminent exit because of the racism they face from both sides making them feel like they don't belong. One such person is Victoria Jones (Ava Gardner - Knights of the Round Table) who has feelings fellow for Anglo-Indian Patrick Taylor (Bill Travers - Hindle Wakes) but finds herself at odds at him for his hatred on Indians. But she is initially dislikes the actions of Col. Savage in his attempts to disperse trouble makers.

I know I have mentioned this before but I will say it again as history lessons at school bored me senseless and I am pretty sure that Britain's departure from India back in the 1940s was not even covered. Now that makes watching "Bhowani Junction" hard work when watching it now over 50 years since it was made and over 60 since the story it tells is based. That I am sure was not a problem back in 1956 as released only a decade after the period it is based upon the events would be far more familiar.

Stewart Granger in Bhowani Junction (1956)

But despite that "Bhowani Junction" is a very interesting movie because the first half focuses on the conflict and racism of the period especially towards Anglo-Indians as they are rejected by both sides. Listening to frequent racist terms takes you aback but in being so open about the racism it does make you realise a little of what it must have been like back then. And it is not just racism towards Anglo-Indians because the terms used to describe Indian's as well also shocks.

But that is really just the first half of "Bhowani Junction" as unsurprisingly it evolves into a romantic drama as Savage and Jones falls for each other. As this is the second half of the movie I won't say too much about it other than to remind you this was a Hollywood movie so you should be able to assume certain things are going to happen.

The thing which makes "Bhowani Junction" still highly watchable comes down to one performance that of Ava Garner as Victoria because not only does she look stunning but she brings her character to life and the conflict she feels not only over how she is treated but over who she loves. Aside from Gardner both Granger and Travers are solid as the men in her life but unsurprising for a Hollywood movie that when it comes to those playing Indians they speak in clear English. It makes "Bhowani Junction" less authentic than it could have been but you can understand why this was done in order to appeal to a wider audience.

What this all boils down to is that "Bhowani Junction" is still an interesting and entertaining movie but most certainly one which has less of an impact when watched now as it did on its release.

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