THE DANCE OF SHIVA
THE DANCE OF SHIVA
Co-produced by Stephanie Sinclaire for Epiphany Films
“One of the most significant British movies of the year” THE INDEPENDENT
“This ambitious short film’s place in the history of British cinema could prove just as remarkable as the story on which it is based” PREMIERE MAGAZINE
SYNOPSIS: This story is based on fact
India, 1915. British Army Chaplain CAPTAIN GREVILLE (Paul McGann), prepares to accompany his regiment to the Western Front. He is anxious about the fact that only a fraction of the regiment, whose spiritual well-being he is charged with – are Christians: the majority are Hindus whose culture is a mystery to him. His attempts to discuss his concerns with his commanding officer GENERAL WILLIS (Julian Glover) are constantly thwarted – Willis is an old family friend but Greville’s approaches are blocked by junior officers, including COLONEL EVANS (Kenneth Branagh).
A sergeant, BAKSHI (Sanjeev Bhaskar), introduces Greville to a statue of Shiva, a ritual performance which summarises creation. Greville remembers this as he accompanies his men to the front. The affects Greville profoundly.
Conditions are bad but he his particularly appalled by the way the Indian troops seem to be regarded as mere cannon fodder and are antagonised by the British troops, most particularly by Lieutenant Davies (Sam West). Acts of supreme bravery are taken for granted and rarely mentioned in official dispatches. Greville is thrown back on his own faith and finds it wanting.
At home on leave, General Willis finally contacts him. The General is apologetic. He has tried to plead the Indians’ case to Lord Haig, and for his trouble had been relived of his command. The only concession he can offer is that the War Office have made accommodation available for the Indian wounded which will in some way remind them of their homeland.
Greville witnesses the death of Sergeant Bhakshi in the improvised hospital. Distressed at his inability to provide real spiritual comfort, he leaves the building which the war office have so thoughtfully made available to the Indians … it is the Brighton Pavilion.
Gazing out across the English Channel from the end of the pier, Greville finally understands the significance of Shiva’s death.
The driving force behind the SHIVA project was hte bringing together of some of Britain’s leading film-makers and paying tribute to their skill, talent and legacy. Amongst the “executive crew” are:
Legendary production designer JOHN BOX, whose designs have been at the heart of some of the most powerful films of all time, helped recreate the scenes of war. He won Oscars for his work on OLIVER!, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDER, more recently he has worked on FIRST KNIGHT and A PASSAGE TO INDIA. He brings a special perspective to the design of SHIVA’s battlefield scenes as he served as an Acting Colonel in WWII and took part in the Normandy Campaign.
Renowned director of Photography JACK CARDIFF’s unique use of colours in film has educated cameramen around the world. He was the operator on the first colour film to be made in Britain and went on to do ground-breaking work on such classics as THE RED SHOES, THE AFRICAN QUEEN and BLACK NARCISSUS. He has kept up to date with modern camera techology, continuing to work in Hollywood with films including RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II.
JOHN W. MITCHELL is the Sound Consultant on THE DANCE OF SHIVA project. Producer and Director Jamie Payne was keen to ensure that this element of the film received the attention it deserved. “Good location sound is vital on this prohect. Sound is usually one of the first casualties of low budget films – it shouldn’t be”. Mitchell started his career in the 1930s at Ealing and Denham studios. After service in the Royal Navy he worked on over 150 films including GREAT EXPECTATIONS, THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and MANHUNTER.