Blake Edwards, Tom Waldman, Frank Waldman
The Mirisch Corporation
Maria Pia Di Meo
J. Edward McKinley:
This film, although dated, is always enjoyable.
It tells the story of an Indian (from India - Hrundi Bakshi), who’s called up to do a film.
On set he’s rather clumsy, creating havoc until he’s sent away by the production team.
By mistake, he’s invited to a party organised by the producer himself and also there, his timidity creates a few problems to the owner of the house.
In actual fact, there isn’t much dialogue in the film, it’s based mostly on expressions and on the disasters Bakshi creates.
The main characters, apart from Bakshi, are the general – head of production – with his wife, Charles, the French singer, the two waiters, Kelso the actor, star of westerns (convinced that Bakshi is a red Indian).
These are the only people who talk (the two waiters say very little, their gags are visual rather than verbal).
In the Italian version, for each character, a different registrar has been used, rendering their manner of expression absolutely unique and recognisable.
An example: Bakshi bothers Kelso who’s teaching a Spanish girl how to play pool; in actual fact Kelso is trying his luck with the girl. But the American actor, who in his simplicity is a nice enough guy, although he’s bothered (by Bakshi’s intrusion), explains to him, very politely how the whole thing works:
Bakshi: Qual è il nome di questo gioco che tante palle colorate così belle? (What’s the name of a game that has a multitude of coloured balls like that?)
Kelso: Sono biglie (Pool)
B: Triglie? (Poo?)
K: Non, non triglie, biglie (No, not poo, pool)
B: Ah, biglie! Se sono due biglie, se sono tre triglie se sono tante conchiglie (Oh, like a swimming pool! I never heard of a game called pool)
As is quite clear, the dialogues are totally different but what’s important is the game of words which renders the idea and the comicality of the difficulty with which Bakshi understands a foreign language.
Also the choice of the voices and their direction indicate great professionalism: despite the number of words never corresponding to the original there are never any problems of sinc, and this is already a merit.
A very strong Hindi accent has been chosen for Peter Sellers’ voice, much stronger than the original, and the comical connotation works very well.
The French lady, immediately recognisable by the French “R” which characterises her nationality, is gracious, shy and she’s the only one who listens to Bakshi and her expressions are always accompanied by the correct interpretation.
The same thing can be said for the general, his wife, for Kelso.
In other words, everyone’s interpretation, just as the adaptation, appear to me to be perfectly in line with the spirit of the film.
[original review in Italian by Elisabetta Fumagalli]