The Householder (1963)

The Householder
Directed by James Ivory
Written by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala from her novel
Merchant Ivory Productions
First viewing/YouTube


“She wondered whether all marriages started out this way. Whether this initial stress and adjustment, push and pull and tremors and shakes were common to all relationships…. She wondered why all those relatives who had sat on her head asking her to get married had never mentioned this particular phase.” ― Shweta Ganesh Kumar, A Newlywed’s Adventures in Married Land

Merchant-Ivory’s first production is a tender story about the growing pains of a newlywed couple in Delhi.

Prem Sagar works as a teacher in a Delhi college for a meager salary.  He has recently married Indu and finds she is a stranger whom he doesn’t much like.  For her part, Indu lounges around the house in a state of extreme boredom.  When she falls pregnant, things get much worse with the arrival of Prem’s domineering mother.  By this time his wife is barely talking to him.  Prem seeks advice from a number of people, including an American besotted with spiritual India and a swami.  Because or despite them things gradually begin to improve.

This film took its time growing on me.  The main problem is that the actors speak English with thick Hindi accents and I had no subtitles to help me along.  When I got used to this and into the story, I found it rather delightful.  I loved the ending!


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