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BEFORE THE RAINS

Director: SANTOSH SIVAN

INDIA-U.K.-U.S.A. • 2007 • COLOUR • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 98 MIN


A GRIPPING TALE OF LOVE AND BETRAYAL SET AGAINST THE BACKDROP OF 1930s COLONIAL KERALA, ‘BEFORE THE RAINS’ IS AN ASSURED ENGLISH-LANGUAGE DEBUT BY INDIAN DIRECTOR SANTOSH SIVAN.
English spice farmer Henry Moores (Linus Roache) determines to build a road through the jungle to improve business, helped by his Indian employee T.K. (Rahul Bose). But their ambition to complete the project before the monsoon season is jeopardised by Moores’ clandestine affair with married village girl Sanjani (Nandita Das), news of which would break his peaceable bond with the locals. As Moores and Sanjani’s relationship takes an abrupt, bloody turn, the atmosphere thickens with a sense of impending violence.
Opening with stunning location shots of lush green hills emerging from wisps of morning mist, ‘Before the Rains’ is testament to Sivan’s background as a cinematographer and builds on the pictorial grandeur of his breakthrough film ‘The Terrorist’. But the breathtaking visuals are grounded in narrative: from the sensual, fecund jungle hideaway that is the location for the couple’s lovemaking to the ominous torch-lit procession that enraged locals make for a climactic showdown with T.K., landscape and climate are deftly expressive of emotional mood. The backdrop of rising Indian nationalism is also subtly evoked. Thanks to a performance of watchful intelligence by Rahul Bose, T.K. is a figure torn between the material resources of his British employer and the communal traditions of his village. If this tale of guilt and sin entails a paradise lost for colonial bosses like Moores, the telling references to the burgeoning independence movement points, like that road through the jungle, to the future for men like T.K.

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