City Of Joy

Patrick Swayze stars in a Christian parable of sorts about a disgruntled American doctor who reluctantly resumes practicing at a combination school, clinic, and dispensary run by a middle-aged woman (Pauline Collins) in one of the poorest sections of Calcutta. This story alternates with and eventually joins that of a poor laborer (Om Puri) who brings his family to Calcutta, where he gets a job pulling a ricksha for the local godfather-extortionist (Shyamanand Jalan) while his wife works as the doctor’s assistant. Both characters wind up in violent conflict with the godfather and his son (Art Malik) after the clinic decides to treat lepers. Adapted by Mark Medoff from a book by Dominique Lapierre, this is a bit lumpy as narrative, as director Roland Joffe’s movies often turn out to be, but at times sincerity helps to make up for the long-windedness. With Shabana Azmi and Nabil Shaban. (JR)

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