HollywoodChicago.com RSS   Facebook   HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter   Free Giveaway E-mail   

Star-Crossed Lovers Create Road to Ruin in ‘Before the Rains’

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
Average: 3.8 (6 votes)

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5CHICAGO – By its very nature, colonialism is bad karma waiting to happen.

You are a sovereign nation with weaponry and a desire for treasure. While you invade and take over a country with that treasure, it also comes with a society you don’t understand. You stir in religious dogma, native slavery and the defiling of lands and create an evil stew that’s ripe to boil over.

Rahul Bose in Before the Rains
Rahul Bose in “Before the Rains”.
Photo credit: Alphonse Roy

The country of India was a prime example of this scenario. The British got their bad karma handed back to them as depicted in the new film “Before the Rains”.

Set in 1937, the film begins with a British spice baron named Henry Moores (Linus Roache) who’s surveying a mountain upon which he plans to build a road.

His right-hand man, T.K. Neelan (Rahul Bose), is a native of the surrounding Indian territory who lends his support to the outsider project by recruiting village laborers.

At his home nearby, Moores is shown participating in a honey-gathering errand with housekeeper Sajani (Nandita Das). On this expedition, it’s revealed that the two are lovers. At the same time, though, they’re caught in the act by two boys from the village.

Linus Roache (left) and Nandita Das in Before the Rains
Linus Roache (left) and Nandita Das in “Before the Rains”.
Photo credit: Alphonse Roy

They are both married to other people. This starts a complication that pits the loyal T.K. against his native honor.

Asked by his friend and patron (Moores) to cover up the affair, T.K. becomes an unwilling middleman between his village, Moores’ wife and a distraught Sanjani. Her sorrow also results in an ultimate act that could bring the whole enterprise and atmosphere crashing down.

Set among the first wave of nationalism that led to India’s independence, this highly symbolic story is tautly constructed to create high-wire tension between the oh-so-white British colonialists and the traditional Indian ways.

The representation of eminent domain, blithe commerce and the appearance of firearms seemingly encapsulate the whole relationship between the countries. The power of love is also an incendiary device when thrown in among the cold material.

While Moores and Sanjani maybe never intended to fall in love, the consequence of their ardor has the capacity to cripple everything in its path. It is expertly played out in the screenplay by Cathy Rabin and Dan Verete while director Santosh Sivan creates the anxious mood of a noir thriller.

RELATED IMAGE GALLERY
StarView our full “Before the Rains” image gallery.

RELATED READING
StarRead more film reviews from critic Patrick McDonald.

These are top-notch performances. The Brits are cast so effectively and proper, in fact, as to have stepped right out of “Mary Poppins”. The Indian actors (especially the characters of T.K. and Sanjani) honor their ancestors with inherent portrayals by conjuring the empathy of being second-class citizens in their own land.

The story anticipates the coming of the monsoon season as the road of British commerce races to completion before the flood. How simply it can be washed away when the rain arrives just like the flood of Indian people expressing their rights and washing away the British rule.

“Before the Rains” opens on May 16, 2008 in limited theaters. In Chicago, the film will play at Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema and Landmark’s Renaissance Place Cinema.

HollywoodChicago.com staff writer Patrick McDonald

By PATRICK McDONALD
Staff Writer
HollywoodChicago.com
pat@hollywoodchicago.com

© 2008 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Hot stories on the Web

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing

TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • [Trans]formation

    CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.

  • Life Sucks

    CHICAGO – Let’s face it, life does suck. But what can we do about that? How do we survive? Lookingglass Theatre Company’s latest stage presentation tries to answer those thorny questions through a group of fellow travelers, flung together at a cabin retreat, trying to figure out why (indeed) “Life Sucks.”

Advertisement



HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter

archive

HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions
tracker