A series of jokes based around the word Khasi, appalling racial stereotyping, bawdy sexism, Kenneth Williams looking like a wilted lettuce… classic Carry On
Endlessly fascinating document of postcolonial anxiety, and probably the most semiotically thick of the Carry Ons.
Williams is the Khasi of Kalibar, an Indian potentate who wants the British – the vulgar Sir Sidney and Lady Ruff-Diamond (James and Sims) – orf his land. It’s a war of propaganda – the Khasi has starched and pressed evidence that the legendary British Devils in Skirts (the Third Foot and Mouth regiment) – are not terrifyingly naked under their kilts.
Bresslaw’s blackface Burpha warlord has the rudest line: ‘Fakir off,’ he snaps at a palace entertainer – the censor only allowed the line once director Thomas had solemnly promised to place the emphasis on the second word.
The final scene, in which the Raj establishment continue a polite dinner party despite cannonfire from an Indian mutiny, is one of British cinema’s defining moments, and bears comparison to anything in Lindsay Anderson’s Britannia Hospital – only it has slightly more knob jokes.
Sid James as Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond
Charles Hawtrey as Private Widdle
Bernard Bresslaw as Bungdit Din
Kenneth Williams as Khasi of Khalabar
Roy Castle as Captain Keene
Joan Sims as Lady Joan Ruff-Diamond
Peter Butterworth as Brother Belcher
Terry Scott as Sergeant Major MacNutt
Angela Douglas as Princess Jelhi
Cardew Robinson as The Fakir
Julian Holloway as Major Shorthouse
Peter Gilmore as Private Ginger Hale
Leon Thau as Stinghi
Wanda Ventham as Khasi’s First Wife
Alexandra Dane as Busti
Director: Gerald Thomas
Script: Talbot Rothwell
UK | 88 minutes | 1968