Movie Review: Before The Rains

Cast: Rahul Bose, Nandita Das, Linus Roache, Jennifer Ehle

Director: Santosh Sivan

Rating: **

In the 1930s India, the British are in an increasingly precarious position. The echoes of the freedom struggle are the last to reach the Malabar forests, where an Englishman's attempts at carving a road out of the hillside lead to disaster.

Henry Moore ( Linus Roache) has a heavy bank loan riding on his ability to finish the road before the monsoon. He depends upon his faithful local retainer T K Neelan ( Rahul) to get the show on the road. But he doesn't take into account the rumble that follows, post his affair with the dusky Sajani ( Nandita), in the absence of his wife and son.

This film has released after two years of doing the rounds of international festivals, where Santosh Sivan has quite a following. Expectedly, the cinematography is superb : no one can make Kerala look quite as lovely as Sivan. And Rahul Bose as the conflicted handyman, who is torn between his English master and loyalty to his people, stands out. His Malayalam-accented English is better than that of Das's, but you can see that it is not his tongue. The rest of it is quite linear and ordinary : the growing attraction between the weak-kneed `gora sahib' and the maid, the sympathetic` mem sahib' and her nice little lad, the unrest amongst the villagers, unspools expectedly, minus any surprises.

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