An Indian princess (Madhur Jaffrey), long divorced and living in self-enforced exile in London, invites her father's ex-tutor, Cyril Sahib (James Mason), to an annual tea party, intended to celebrate a happier past, where the two watch old movie footage of Royal India. The Princess reviews her memories selectively: she sees their long-vanished, fun-filled world, dominated by her dazzling father, through a haze of nostalgia, and she tries to wheedle her guest into writing a book about it. But Cyril Sahib has a different view both of their common past and of her father, the Maharaja. He recalls the ceremonial occasions, the weddings and funerals, the pig-sticking expeditions, the pranks and practical jokes with distaste, even horror at the surfeit and brutality. And he remembers the dashing Maharaja - to his adoring daughter almost a surrogate lover - as manipulative and often cruel, his later years soiled by a sordid sex scandal in London.