Written and Directed by Aparna Sen

Running Time: 2:04

Not Rated


Rahul Bose
as Raja Chowdhary

Konkona Sensharma
as Meenakshi Iyer

Surekha Sikri
as Old Muslim woman

Bhisham Sahani
as Old Muslim man

Bharat Kaul
as Officer

Official Web site

Posters and Prints for Sale

Macduff Everton - Taj Mahal and Eagle, Agra, India

W. M. Craig - Calcutta

Jon R. Friedman - Setting Sun Bombay Hook


A slow-moving yet beautifully told story, Mr. and Mrs. Iyer isn't your typical Bollywood film. No singing, no dancing, just a wonderfully acted drama set on a background of civil unrest.


Mrs. Iyer is on the beginning of a long journey to Calcutta to be with her husband. The trip starts with a long bus ride and is supposed to be followed by a train trip. But there is a problem along the bus route as Hindus and Muslim extremists are at each others throats. The roads are closed and there is a curfew put in place. Along side her is Raja Chowdhary, taking the same journey and since Mrs. Iyer has a small child, helping her out when he can. While trapped on the bus, a gang of Hindus boards the bus in order to ferret out any Muslims. They go so far as to make a boy strip so they can check and see if he is circumcised. Raja is Muslim, but Mrs. Iyer goes against her beliefs and covers for him so nothing will happen to him. Mrs. Iyer was brought up believing that Muslims were inferior and she should have nothing to do with them. But along the journey she comes to realize that it's not your religion that defines you, but who you are as a person.


I think I butchered the story, but you should get the idea. At just over 2 hours, Mr. and Mrs. Iyer isn't the traditional Bollywood film. There are no song and dance sequences, just a moving story of two people depending on each other to survive. I firmly believe if the film cut out about 15 minutes and added better subtitling, this could be a major crossover hit. It's an absolutely amazing and moving story. The performances are some of the better ones I've seen in Indian films and the story is simple yet powerful. I thought the first half of the movie was incredible because for the first time I can remember, I was fully invested in the characters on the bus. From the students up front to the old Muslim couple in the middle, to the 'rough' types in the back who still were nice to a handicapped boy travelling with his mother, I felt like I knew each and every one of them. Most American films don't even let you get that into characters. Most of them time they're thrown into the mix and after a while you don't care about any of them. Here, you really wanted all of them to make it and when two of them didn't, you felt the hurt each and everyone of them felt.

The second half of the film when Raja and Mrs. Iyer spent a lot of time alone felt a little long. And there were a lot of scenes in the film that dragged on more than they should have. The film could easily cut 15 minutes and still be as powerful. The other problem was the subtitling. The Bengali and Tamil portions in the beginning were subtitled, but none of the Hindi was subtitled, so that a lot of people are going to have a hard time understanding the dialogue. That being said (and while I was able to understand about half of what was being said), a lot of it could still be figured out easily enough. And a lot of the movie was in English so it wasn't impossible to know what was happening.

The scenery was beautiful, especially the scenes in the forest where the two leads spent a lot of time. The music was haunting and went along wonderfully with the film. The actors, as I said earlier, were wonderful, which in this film was important. In a lot of Bollywood films, you can interchange actors and have the same movie, since people don't go for acting, they go for song and dance. Here, since the movie was focused entirely on the relationship of these two characters, you needed actors who could hold their own, and both did.


Overall, I would definitely recommend Mr. and Mrs. Iyer. For Bollywood film fans, it's a film unlike many others. For American film fans, it's a great change of pace from traditional American films. It could stand to use some editing, and the lack of subtitles throughout most of the film can be a pain, but it's worth the effort.

Got something to say? Say it on the Message Boards. No password needed!

Visit the updated Movie Poster Store for all your poster needs.


$23.99 DVD

Monsoon Wedding

$24.74 DVD

Salaam Bombay!
(Widescreen Special Edition)

$21.49 DVD

Kama Sutra

$21.49 DVD

reviewed 04/24/03

© 2003 Wolfpack Productions

Wolfpack Productions