Thugs and Thuggees
The Decievers, Our English word ‘thug’ comes from a Hindi word, ‘thag,’ as we often see it transliterated as ‘thuggee.’ The thuggees were a secret cult of assassins/robbers who preyed on wealthy travelers, usually in the months of October. It was (or still is, as some claim) an ancient order which preceded the Islamic invasion of India and which also included Muslims in its ranks. The thuggees worshiped Kali, the consort of Shiva, (or Siva) the destroyer, one of the three gods in the Hindu Trimurti or trinity (the other two being Brahmin and Vishnu). This film which is based on a fictional account of a British officer who inflitrates the cult by disguising himself as a thuggee and eventually comes to be the one who destroy it. The allusion to being based on real life events, of course, adds to the mystery and allure of this film’s exotic setting. A young pre-James Bond Pierce Brosnan is the central character and is aided by the Indian veteran character actor, Saeed Jaffery. Add to that, the presence of Australian actor, Keith Michell, his attractive daughter, Helena, a face frequently seen as a supporting actor, David Robb, as the Gentleman cad, and a large cast of Indian actors that are seen in Indian films, and you have the cast. The scenery is most interesting as it was shot on location in India and shows the countryside not as a jungle, as many think of India. Historically, the East India Company which was exploiting the natural resources of India for their own colonial interests, was underwritten by the English government and the British Army was providing the administrative services. The story of this film, based on the investigations of the colonial administrator, Sir. W.H. Sleeman who eventually uprooted the Thuggee cult, took place before the Sepoy uprising in the 1840’s.
This is not a bad film and maintains high level of tension. I found it entertaining and interesting and recommend it.