The Chandrapore Club
As a location for 'A Passage To India', Bangalore proved to be an excellent choice for another reason: the scenes at 'The Club' could be filmed right here at The Bangalore Club on K.M. Cariappa Road, just off the Richmond Circle. Established in 1868, the Bangalore Club is one of the oldest clubs in the country. Formerly known as the Bangalore United Services Club (BUS Club), it was originally formed for exclusive use by British troops stationed in the cantonment. At present, it is largely a civilian club. Members of the services, however, continue to enjoy special privileges. It has had many distinguished members, including British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. As a young subaltern, he was a member of the club for three years from 1896 to 1899. He left behind him a debt of Rs 13 which was written off by the Committee as an 'Irrecoverable sum'! When the news became public a few years ago, many British citizens sent in cheques to clear the arrears. A club official said a gentleman from Australia sent a cheque taking into consideration the latest value of Rs 13. But the Club sent back the cheques as it cherished the fact that the great British statesman who was against granting independence to India still owes them money.
Membership of the Bangalore United Services Club was originally reserved for the British and was off-limits to Indian citizens, as Mrs Moore found out in the film, when she wished to invite Dr Aziz inside. It was only after the club became a civilian club in the late 40's, that its doors were fully thrown open to Indians.
The website goes on to say: 'The stately central building blends 19th century notions of the empire and grandeur with 21st century efficiency and vitality. The resplendent Mysore room, reminiscent of the life style of the Maharaja’s and the robust spirit of the Gentlemen's bar; where the late Brigadier. R.C.R. Hill, who, as President of the club, saw the transition from colonialism to independence and from a Services to Civilian club, held court. The modern Tennis, Squash and Badminton courts, the Health club, Swimming pool, the completely renovated library, now a century old, form a mosaic, interspersed with green lawns, trees, shrubbery and flowers in a 11 acre campus.' There is a 15 year waiting list for permanent membership, though temporary membership is granted if proposed by three other members.
This scene was filmed in the Lounge, at the Club. An enlarged view is available on the Club website. It is described thus: 'A large hall which houses memorabilia from the clubs hoary past, well appointed with marble flooring, chandeliers that hang from a high ceiling and leather upholstered chairs makes for a warm introduction to the main building which houses a bar, the dining room, several ante-rooms and the Mysore room which is a dress lounge.' The scene in the film gives little idea of the true height of the room: a typical feature in hot countries.
This scene was filmed in the Billiard Room, at the Club. An enlarged view is available on the Club website. It is described thus: 'The stately colonnaded corridor which leads to the Billiards room presents a turn of the century " Gone with the Wind " ambience. The billiards room has 3 tables.' The room today has changed little since the film was shot there.
Which room at the Club were these amateur theatricals filmed in? Here we see the play that Mrs Moore had no desire to watch, having seen it already in London. She leaves the Club and visits a nearby mosque, where she meets Dr Aziz for the first time. Pictures of the Mosque are on my Chandrapore page.