Set in India’s colonial past, circa 1930, Before the Rains
is a period drama exploring how imbalanced socio-economic landscapes negatively affect the personal lives of those seeking to function in corrupt systems. Director Santosh Sivan’s intricate love story begins as a passion play and quickly unravels into a crime scene which has the entire police force searching for an innocent victim. Set mostly on British spice planter Henry Moores’ (Linus Roache) plantation, the viewer learns from the outset of his affair with servant Sajani (Nandita Das). Sajani’s marriage to an despicable Indian villager spells danger, though it’s not until Henry’s wife, Laura (Jennifer Ehle) comes to visit that one discovers how the infidelity destroys the lives of both participants. Worst off is Henry’s other servant, T.K. Neelan (Rahul Bose), torn as witness between covering for his employer and helping his vulnerable female neighbor. Though it is easy to sympathize with Sajani, Before the Rains
does well to show Moores as a character worthy enough of redemption, as he constantly checks his moral temperature and is nearly undone by guilt. Charles Humphries (John Standing), Moores’ boss heading up plans to build a road into the village for increased production, serves as the capitalist swine, coloring Moores less oblivious to the Indian position. Aside from being a tale about the high cost of colonial endeavors, Before the Rains
is a human tale of how love can be confused by what is foreign or forbidden. --Trinie Dalton
Santosh Sivan directs this lavishly-filmed drama set in 1930s southern India against the backdrop of a growing nationalist movement. Linus Roache stars as Henry Moores, an English spice grower who begins an ill-advised affair with his beautiful Indian housemaid, Sajani (Nandita Das), while his wife, Laura (Jennifer Ehle), and young son are away in England. A tragic chain of events is set in motion when the affair is discovered. Rahul Bose co-stars as TK, an idealistic young villager who finds himself torn between his progressive visions for the future and his loyalty to past traditions as he witnesses events unfold.