Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Before the Rains

Henry (Linus Roache) oversees a tea estate in South Kerala in the late 1930s with the help of his able manservant, T. K. Neelam (Rahul Bose), who is influential with the workers from the nearby village. He hopes to expand into spices and build a road to help transport the crop before the monsoon rains. Life is looking good for Henry and the icing on the cake is Sajani (Nandita Das), a sultry maid servant with whom he is having a clandestine affair. But his dream like existence is ruptured when his wife returns from England. To make matters worse Sajani is seen by a couple of village children in the throes of her passion. Slowly but surely Henry's dream turns in to a nightmare.

Santosh Sivan does a masterful job behind the lenses but his directorial skill is a work in progress. His casting choices are mysterious. Casting Thilakan and Lakshmi Krishnamurthy (who happened to be my class teacher in 3rd standard) as TK's parents are masterful but then gives them a miniscule role in the plot. So we are left watching a wooden Rahul Bose who can never play a convincing Keralite in this lifetime. Plus the use of English among the villagers is grating. So in the end Sivan throws away a decent script and storyline for reasons only he knows.

Rating: * +

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