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4.0 out of 5 stars
Kama Sutra: A Tale Of Love [DVD] [1997]
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Mira Nair's "Kama Sutra" takes place in 16th century India where a princess Tara (Sarita Choudhury) is arranged to marry a prince Raj Singh (Naveen Andrews) who is a great womanizer. Her childhood friend, a servant girl Maya (Indira Varma) who have lived all her life in the princess' shadow, used her used things and suffered her bullying, looses her patience and decides to revenge Tara by giving herself to the prince Raj Singh on the night of their wedding. However Tara's brother witnessed the scene and Maya is forced to shamefully leave her home forever.

Titled as "Kama Sutra" it isn't a sex film although it's nature is very erotic. The Director Mira Nair on her interview on the DVD is mentioning India not seeming to be the same country where "Kama Sutra" was born and where sexuality is hidden behind veils. The whole story of "Kama Sutra" is a story of true bold love, embodied in a person of a woman - the main character Maya and her ability to say a firm NO to others and "create her own destiny" at any price. "Kama Sutra's" moral is probably "be loyal to yourself no matter what" and "true love lasts forever". I loved Maya's character and Indira Varma's performance (all the other actors were brilliant too) was great. The atmosphere of the film was very special - no any usual clichés. We can also feel it being very feminine, where women dominate more than men - that is the other thing about this film that made it different. It is more of a story from a woman's point of view and the aspects that interest them more. I doubt it could be described as an historical movie only because the story is about the 16th century India but there are some clues that could lead into a historical research for anyone interested. The scenery and photography of the film are amazing and it's a beautiful film after all, nice to watch but isn't the "happy ending" film. So if you want to get lost in the 16th India and witness a story of real love, watch Mira Nair's "Kama Sutra" cause it's a fantastic film worth rating 10 stars.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
This is a lushy lavish, sensuously beautiful film, superlatively directed by Mira Nair, a world class director noted for such other cinematic masterpieces as "Salaam Bombay", "Mississippi Masala", and the more recent art house feature, "Monsoon Wedding". As are her other films, "Kama Sutra" is an intelligent and mesmerizing story, peppered with excellent performances by a stellar cast.
Set in sixteenth century India, this is the story of Maya (Indira Varma), a servant girl and companion to Tara (Sarita Choudry), a Maharani destined to be Queen to a Raj. Childhood friends, they are to become palace rivals as the fates pit them one against the other, only to have them both become casualties of love. Maya, tired of being treated as a second class citizen and of receiving Tara's castoff clothing, makes a life defining decision on the eve of Tara's marriage to Raj Singh (Naveen Andrews). Sensing that the Raj desires her, Maya gives herself to him, later telling Tara that it is she who now has a cast off from Maya.
After Tara departs with her husband, Maya's perfidy is revealed to the household by Tara's huntchbacked brother, who, coveting Maya for himself, had spied upon her and saw her in flagrante delicto with the Raj. Ousted by Tara's outraged family, Maya leaves to make her way in the world. She comes across a sculptor, Jai Kumar (Ramon Tikarum), of Raj Singh's royal household and falls in love with him. Unfortunately, timing is everything. By the time Jai realizes that he, too, is in love with her, it is too late, as Maya is now the favorite courtesan of the by now debauched Raj, who is obsessed with her and cannot seem to get her out of his system, much to the dimay of Tara, as well as Jai.
Trained in the arts of love by the graceful and beautiful Rasa Devi (Rekha), Maya, as a royal courtesan, is a sensuous, beautiful sylph. Tara, now the Queen, is insanely jealous of her husband's desire for Maya, but must tolerate it, as must Jai, as it is a culturally accepted way of life. Unfortunately, when the Raj discovers that Maya and Jai are still in love, all hell breaks loose, and the piper must be paid.
This is a wonderful film of a woman's journey to find herself within culturally imposed constraints. It is a tale of the vicissitudes of life that leave imprints on one's journey. Told in the context of carnal love and desire, it also tells of a love sublime. This is essentially a woman's film, sensuous and erotic in its imagery, a veritable sumptuous feast for the senses. While there is some nudity in the film, it is tastefully and beautifully filmed, as well as highly erotic.
Indira Varma, in what is her screen debut, is sensational as the entrancing Maya, imbuing her with an impishness, as well as with a sinuous and provocative sensuality. Sarita Choudry, of "Mississippi Masala" fame, is excellent as the beautiful and exotic Tara, who appears to be relegated to a life of frigidity and jealousy. Rekha, the well known and exquisitely beautiful Indian actress, is hypnotic as Rasa Devi, teacher of the Kama Sutra. Naveen Andrews gives a good performance as the debauched Raj, and Ramon Tikarum is compelling as the conflicted artist. They both, however, take a backseat to the women in the film.
Filmed on location in India, this is a film that should be watched for its sheer beauty. Bravo!
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 16 June 2001
Yet again, Film Four has produced something wonderful - deeply moving and every camera shot is a work of art. Indira Varma as Maya is one of the most beatiful women I have ever seen, naive but so sensual, in a way that doesn't seem acted. And Ramon Tikaram is perfect (of course) as the persecuted lover or Maya, put to death by the king for daring to love his favourite courtesan. The pace of the film is a little slow, but I think that is part of the charm. It doesn't shove the sex scenes in your face or try to make itself overtly sexy. The soundtrack is wonderfully fitted to the film and haunts you long afterwards. Overall, it's just beautiful. A real triumph that should be viewed and loved by all.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Hotter than "Fire", but without the same depth of emotion and not much of a story line, Kama Sutra comes over as a beautiful art movie, with magnificent scenery, brilliant color, and maximum use of nature, light and texture. Yes, there are also love scenes that are not for the prudish, and some full frontal female nudity and bare backsides, but in essence it is a story of love and loss and debauchery and death.
Indira Varma is captivating as the servant girl Maya, portraying her as young, flirtatious and resilient, while at the same time, regal and vulnerable. Her lovely eyes speak volumes, and there are entire scenes that are conveyed without the need for dialogue.
Sarita Choudhury plays a major supporting role as Tara, the intended bride of Raj Singh (Naveen Andrews). Although a lifelong friend of Maya, she turns on her in a fit of jealousy when the Raj lets his gaze wander to Maya on their very first meeting, and her reaction causes Maya to flee the room in shame.
Seeking revenge, Maya makes a pre-marital visit to the Raj, and gives herself to him in a performance that he never forgets.
She however forgets that people who live in transparent tents shouldn't fool around, and when the night's events are disclosed by Tara's humpbacked peeping tom of a brother, whom Maya has rejected outright as a husband, she has no choice but to leave her home as a fallen woman.
Unlike the popular advertisement however, she is able to get up, and thanks to the artistic skill of a stone carver Jai Kumar (Ramon Tikaram) and the friendship and teaching of Rasa Devi, (Screen legend Rehka) teacher of the Kama Sutra, she finds new confidence and a whole new attitude. She falls for Jai big time, but unfortunately for him, he doesn't react well to unconditional love and chases her straight into the open arms of Raj Singh as his #1 favorite courtesan.
Tara is now living the life of the neglected wife of a debauched husband, and has a disastrous wedding night when he calls her another woman's name. Her unhappiness is aggravated when she discovers Maya lolling off in a hot tub at the palace, and unable to cope with her situation decides on a drastic course of action.
Raj is by now totally obsessed with Maya, and when he discovers that his stone carver friend and his number one girl have not only rekindled the flames, but are busy fanning them when he's not around, he goes berserk, and orders the appropriate punishment for Jai.
To close things off, while Raj has been partying, his kingdom has been falling, and you don't need a fat lady singing to tell you that it's over for him.
Excellent performances by Indira Varma, Sarita Choudhury and Rekha make this movie worthwhile, and the attention to detail by Mira Nair makes for beautiful watching.
Amanda Richards
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on 20 January 2015
I wrote a review of Monsoon Wedding on 12th August 2013. So here is another of her films. Kama Sutra, which is described as a love story. It has been said that a love story is either two women and one man or two men and one women. This is a story of two women and two men. Having enjoyed Monsoon Wedding I knew that Mira Nair would be seducing us with beautiful silks and jewellery. And how she does: beautiful young people exquisitely dress in fine silk often heavily embroidered. They inhabit beautiful locations, a lovely stone palace sumptuously furnished with exotic silk cushions. The jewellery is extravagantly beautiful and is obviously of historic origin and must have cost a fortune to keep safe during filming. The story takes place in fictional ancient India and it really is absolutely stunning. When we are not in the beautiful stone palace we are out on the mountains with the sculptor. And there is water - lovely pools in the palace and magnificent lakes in the countryside. It is beautiful and to someone who loves exotic textiles and jewellery it is very satisfying. The lighting and camerawork is stunning and all in all it really is a sumptuous piece.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 March 2013
If like me, you just love Indira Varma, buy it !!!
If, on the other hand you want to watch a good film, don't !!!
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on 6 April 2014
Kama Sutra is not a porno movie. Okay, it does have some in your face adult scenes. Don't think it is a dirty film, it is not. It is really based on culture, Indian princess who weds an evil prince. The Prince who becomes king, is a womanizer. He feeds on prostitutes and has no respect for them. On the princess's wedding night, her maid Maya, gives herself to the king as a gift. Ruining the princess's life. The story focuses on Maya, and what happens to her. She meets an artist, who carves sculptures out of stone. And soon they madly fall in love. The sculpturist turns her away, here she turns to a Karma Sutra Mentor (Rehka - famous Bollywood Actress of the 70s), and learns how to manipulate men. The king is searching for Maya in the meantime. When he discovers her, she becomes his mistress. Not because she wants to. The ending is quiet sad, I actually cried.
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on 8 September 2011
The story is as much about sex as love, but in spite of the subject matter and several scenes in which girls are being instructed in the art of love, the film is neither erotic nor steamy. If you are looking for nudity, this is not your film, although there may be more bare skin in the Indian version. But the story has its interest. The direction and most of the performances are good. The dancing by Indira Varma and Rekha is delightful. The music sometimes distracts more than it enriches, but it usually provides the proper enhancement. None of the elements are first class, but none are bad, and they come together in an entertaining whole, yielding a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 April 2013
I ordered this film after seeing it on the TV. The film is a little slow but the story is good, i really like the indian culture portrayed in this film and this is why i liked it the most.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 March 2014
Very enjoyable and erotic film. Excellent story-line. This is so much better than constant sex throughout the film with no story behind it.
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