Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Movie Review: Before The Rains

I've never appreciated many movies directed by cinematographers-turned-filmmakers considering most of them just work because of their picturesque frames, the camera angles and techniques, rather than the characters, doing most of the story-telling. Here too in Before The Rains, cinematographer and director Santosh Sivan captures the eternally romantic backwaters of Kerala with exquisite artistry and creates a period film that is set in 1937 and lives more through its visual opulence than its story.

Harry Moore (Linus Roache) has a dream. He wants to build a road in the undeveloped rural terrain of rural Kerala to help further the spice trade. Helping him fulfil his dream is his faithful servant T.K. (Rahul Bose) who forms the bridge between the Englishmen and the locals. T.K. has his motives clear. He wants to savour the best of both the worlds, be it the high culture of the burra sahib's world or the family linkages with his tribe. But life cannot be sailed in two boats; that's a truth T.K. is forced to realize when his Sahib's affair with the maid Sajni (Nandita Das) turns awry. With the freedom struggle building up and Sajni's drastic end to a soured love story threatening to boil over into us-versus-them confrontation, the English homestead becomes a seething cauldron. More importantly, T.K. gets a taste of his English master's true moral fibre.

Celebrate the feeling of Independence with this artistic celebration of Swaraj and nationalist awakening. On the rating meter from one to five, I would rate this movie for a three out of five.

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