“Temples of India”, 1938, in colour

“Don’t come looking here for an insider’s portrait of Hinduism; the religion on offer is like something out of the adventures of Indiana Jones, performed in the style of “The King and I”. Nevertheless, this film offers a rare glimpse of religious ritual and architecture in India in the late 1930s.

The temples in question include those at Mysore, Varanasi and Belur and we also get to see a dancer performing Shiva’s “Dance of Destruction”. The film ends rather oddly with a moonlight trip to the Taj Mahal, the filmmaker appearing to forget that it was built by a Muslim emperor. But despite its limitations in objectivity and logic, Jack Cardiff’s Technicolor cinematography lifts the film to a rather higher plane”

- Robin Baker, BFI

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