Countess Chandra is the main antagonist in Blake Edward's 1983 film Curse of the Pink Panther. She is a spa owner who is the lover of former Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau as well as the thief of the Pink Panther Diamond.
Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau, hailed as France's greatest detective, was assigned by the French government to head to Lugash to investigate the theft of the Pink Panther Diamond at their museum. The diamond was stolen by a thief named Gino Rossi, a man who bore a little physical resemblance to Clouseau. Rossi was able to successfully steal the diamond through patience and determination by digging a tunnel to break into the museum where the diamond was being held. After taking the diamond, Rossi tried to sell it to Countess Chandra at an unreasonable price. All of a sudden, Clouseau, who has figured out that it was Rossi who took the diamond, arrived, intending to arrest him. When Rossi pointed a gun at Clouseau, Chandra shot Rossi to protect Clouseau. It is unclear what happened afterwards, but Chandra was able to corrupt Clouseau or get him to join her side through some form of manipulation. Chandra then had Rossi's body disposed of and had Clouseau undergo a very extensive plastic surgery as well as become a very famous British film star.
Years after Clouseau disappeared, the French government began to pressure Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus to launch a thorough inquiry (Operation Paragon). Dreyfus was assigned to find the world's greatest detective, second to Clouseau, by using the Huxley 600, a database created by Interpol. After making a deal with a criminal by promising him a pardon, Dreyfus reprogrammed that machine, with the criminal's knowledge, to select the worst, Sergeant Clifton Sleigh, an officer of the NYPD. Sleigh, who was descended from a long line of cops, saw this as an opportunity to prove his worth. Dreyfus soon found that the plan had worked a bit too well: Sleigh was just as clumsy as Clouseau, falling around, causing disaster and driving Dreyfus crazy.
Sleigh went to the South of France to meet with Sir Charles Lytton, who told Sleigh that Clouseau took a plane to Valencia, Spain, right after visiting Sir Charles to check whether he stole the Pink Panther or not since Clouseau was aware of SIr Charles being the Phantom, Europe's most notorious jewel thief. While being pursued by the French Connection (a criminal gang that feared Sleigh would find Clouseau), Sleigh encountered Countess Chandra's English-born secretary Julie Morgan aka Juleta Shayne. After Shayne defended Sleigh from the French Connection, Sleigh saved her from Mr. Chong, a ninja that Clouseau defeated once. Sleigh followed Julie back to his apartment when Julie refused to visit the police chief with him. Julie tried to rape Sleigh by drugging him only to be shot with a tranquilizing dart by Clouseau, who followed Julie and was paranoid that she would Sleigh the truth about him (as Countess Chandra's secretary, Julie might have know what happened that night when Gino Rossi tried to sell the diamond to her). Dreyfus, who was not part of the scheme, called the police claiming that Sleigh was not a police officer and the police wrongly concluded that Sleigh tried to rape Julie even though he didn't.
After escaping police custody and with help from the Lytons, Sleigh was able to track down Countess Chandra thinking she might know who drugged Julie. While there, Sleigh meets the famous British film star, who spoke to Sleigh in a rather odd French accent as well as fell all over the place. Chandra then manipulated Sleigh into believing that Clouseau visited her claiming to be Gino Rossi and that Clouseau for a good plastic surgeon. Sleigh then left soon after getting the name of the plastic surgeon from Chandra as well as his address. Countess Chandra and Clouseau went to admire the Pink Panther Diamond, it was taken from the Countess' safe and replaced by a white glove. "Swine Phantom!" mutters Clouseau, knowing only too well who is responsible for the theft.
Sleigh concluded, incorrectly, that Clouseau stole the Pink Panther diamond, underwent plastic surgery, changed his name to Gino Rossi and was then killed for the diamond after his body was found. Although Dreyfus was not convinced by this and although the fingerprints of the dead man did not match Clouseau, Dreyfus wanted to be rid of Sleigh by announcing that he solved the case.
- Joanna Lumley, Countess Chandra's actress, played Marie Jouvet, a television reporter investigating Clouseau's disappearance in Trial of the Pink Panther , set before the events of Curse of the Pink Panther.
- It is unclear as to how Countess Chandra was able to get Clouseau to engage in a life of crime with her, as Clouseau had been known to put his duty first above all else. Either she charmed him through seduction or Clouseau was getting bored with pursuing criminals.
- She is the third criminal to succeed without getting caught (the first would be SIr Charles Lyton, the second is SIr Charles' former wife Lady Lyton). With help from Sergeant Sleigh, the French government, believing that Clouseau truly did steal the Pink Panther, covered up Sleigh's errorneous conclusion by claiming that Gino Rossi stole the diamond and killed Clouseau for trying to bring him in. The government of Lugash, including the President and General Bufoni, also wanted the Pink Panther Diamond removed since they recieved insurance money from the theft and already spent the money. It seems that everybody (Dreyfus, Cato, and Bruno Langlois) wanted not only Clouseau gone, but the diamond was well.
- In Son of the Pink Panther, it seems unknown to what happened to Clouseau afterwards, but the circumstances regarding his death were covered up by the French government as there is a statue in Clouseau's honor. Clouseau may have learned about his illegitimate son Jacques Gembrelli from the news report, but still remained in hiding preseumably with Countess Chandra.
- Since Clouseau "retired" from law enforcement, Blake Edwards wanted to start a series with Clifton Sleigh, which would have brought back Sleigh's coworkers Lieutenant Palmyra, where Sleigh would have a relationship with similar to Clouseau and Dreyfus Palmyra's long suffering assistant Charlie who would be similar to Dreyfus' assistant Francois, and Julie Morgan as the one conducting surprise attacks on Cato (although it would have been unknown if Sleigh had forgiven her for trying to drug him. If Sleigh had forgiven her, it would've been unknown if Sleigh knew Clouseau was the British film star but decided to cover it up to protect himself from the French mob or if Julie kept Sleigh in the dark about that). The idea about Sleigh continuing on as the new protagonist in the Pink Panther films was ultimately scrapped.
- In Peter Seller's Romance of the Pink Panther, Inspector Clouseau was going to become smitten with a cat burglar called "the Frog", played by Pamela Stephenson, who would be a countess. In one draft, Clouseau would have quit the force to join her lover in a life of crime (similar to Curse of the Pink Panther, where Clouseau joined Countess Chandra into a life of crime) and the other draft would have introduced Clouseau reforming the Frog as well as marrying her in the end. However, the idea was ultimately scrapped due to the hostility between Sellers and Blake Edwards.
A Shot in the Dark
The Pink Panther Strikes Again
Trail of the Pink Panther
Son of the Pink Panther
The Pink Panther (2006)
The Pink Panther 2