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on 12 November 2009
This must be one of the most beautiful films I have seen in ages and has become one of my top ten favourite films. The scenery is stunning and the story becomes a very visual journey almost intermingled with nature. It is set in the 1930's, when Britain is losing it's hold and popularity in India. British spice baron Henry Moores (Linus Roache) begins a passionate affair with his servant Sajani. When his wife and son arrive in India though, things become complicated. Don't want to spoil the story but there follows jealousy, death and atonement. The whole love affair and deception becomes intermingled with the resentment of the British in India, so it is quite thought provoking as regards the Raj and it's demise. Linus Roache gives a superb performance as a man who wants it all and doesn't foresee the consequences as everything spirals out of control and he stumbles from one disaster to another. Pacewise, it is similar to other Merchant Ivory films and is very like The Painted Veil another beautiful film. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but if you like a scenic film with a sprinkling of action and some depth to it, then you will enjoy this.
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on 25 January 2010
I knew nothing about 'Before the Rains' before I saw it and wasn't expecting much given the fairly mixed reviews it's garnered. Have I just watched the same film? Because this is nothing short of brilliant. The photography is stunning, the acting is superb, the direction is faultless, and the story had me absolutely gripped from start to finish. This is a wholly believable tragedy which slowly and carefully builds from a languidly beautiful love story into a broodingly menacing thriller as the characters grapple with the consequences their actions. And, like all great films, the direction and acting are so good that you quickly start believing these people are real and, as a result, genuinely care about what happens to them.

One scene in particular sums up just how good it is: the wife confronts the husband and, as the impact of what's going on dawns on her, the focus in the shot subtly switches from his face to hers with no camera movement. Nothing much in that you might say but it made the hairs on my neck stand on end precisely because it captures, simply in the nuance of her expression and the way that it's drawn into focus, the horror that she would feel at that precise moment... cinema doesn't get much better. Quite simply one of the best films I've seen.
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VINE VOICEon 2 December 2010
Having spent 7 years growing up in South India, I was still impressed with how beautiful Santosh Sivan made the hills look. The cinematography is really good and will make you want to visit that part of India.

The acting is on a whole also very good, with Rahul Bose putting in a solid performance, as usual. Each character is believable in their role.

Sadly, the storyline is predictable and therefore the films tends to drag because you can see what is going to happen before it actually does.

But there are really two ways to watch this film. One to just watch the surface story which, is predictable and a little staid. Or you could read between the lines and discuss the bigger picture - i.e. British Raj in India, morality, loyalty and so on.

A great film for a ladies night in, if you are willing to discuss the bigger picture. Definitely avoid if you are wanting a romantic evening!

Hope that helps.
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on 12 September 2010
This is an excellent film, very well done and very thought provoking. A white Englishman, during the Raj days while his wife is in Engalnd, falls in love with a lovely Indian young woman who is one his staff at home. She is being brutally treated by her husband and finds solace with the white man. Inevitably, it all falls apart ending in tragedy. One may ask the question, why did he fall for her knowing the custom of the country? Yet love knows no bounds and in this case overrules reason. Beautifully filmed and taken slowly allowing each event to sink in. Shall watch it again soon.
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Santosh Sivan is to Indian cinema what 'Miss Nair' was a decade ago ,and here he is in full command of the audio-visual media, celebrating a mixed race love affair between an indian rustic woman and an englishman on the eve of the india's independence from colonial rule .

He is ingenious,infectiously risky and yet demurely subtle in his parable of forbidden love portrayed in shades of adultery and lust,set against the backdrop of racial bigotry .

Adultery and colonialism here are the driving force in the narrative and he is able to discuss his themes in an adult affair with a stylish flair, but there are gaps in the narrative and the characters falter at times as the script is not fully developed .

whether it is 'Sharukh khan' in 'ashoka' or the tamil 'terrorist', which discussed root causes of terror in a very subtle manner -his protagonists always possess a passion for their beliefs and a penchant for life which is exuberant and semantic and reflect as metaphors for contemporary themes,but here he is not fully endorsed to his own characters .

Kerala in 1937 was a hornet's nest with the Independence struggle for colonial India interwined with interracial adultery and the tight knit script is sophisticated though it has is not revolutionary as you would expect of mister sivan ,as this sensitive issue could have been much better written by Sivan himself .

Love and guilt are replaced by lust and crime and racial bigotry as the' ultimate metaphor' for a cultural clash where marital disharmony is juxtaposed here for an adulterous affair.

Nandita Das and Linus Roache as the daring lovers, who break the taboo of inter-racial mingling by indulging their passion, are superb but it is 'Rahul Bose' who steals the drama with his stoic ,languid but stupendous silence which can move mountains ,playing the private assistant of the anglo officer who wants to inhabit both the anglo-indian spheres in a cultural clash within his mind and subconcious .

They are all victims of circumstances ;but there are no martyrs or heroes here and the movie partially triumphs with portraying human beings with their innate flaws, as we mortals were designed, and that makes it powerful and but flawed art .

Kudos to Santosh Sivan and Rahul Bose for creating an intelligent movie in a year where a handful can be included in that rare category .

A sensitive and controversial drama which is challengingly provocative and satiating ,though not in the same class as 'the terrorist ' and also left the conclusions to the audience ,whereas this is set against the backdrop of a love triangle which reeks of familiarity ,though the performances and cinematography are extremely inspired as is the commentary on the 'colonial context' and sexual confluence in a time of mayhem amidst revolutionary change and that makes this a contender for one of the best movies made on the profound subjects being discussed .
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on 27 April 2014
A rewarding experience for many reasons including the beautiful cinematography, actors, script, et al.
The film is directed by long time cinematographer Santosh Sivan who worked from behind the camera, which is quite rare for a director but it shows in the breathtaking photography. His eye for detail and camera moves is perfect, but he also along with co-script writer Cathy Rabin, never goes for the cheap shot or obvious emotional triggers. The characters are allowed to be real and complex. It would be easy to say that Linus is the villain but it is done so well that the character shows the conflict he feels about his lover and best friend. This is adult cinema at its finest. I am surprised that the film didn't win more awards and lead to Santosh Sivan making a lot more films.
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on 24 June 2015
Like some of the other reviewers, I hadn't seen this film before I bought it and bought it on the back of the reviews I read here.

This is a stunning film - both visually and story wise. It centres itself around the story of a young woman who has an affair with her boss, until it all goes sour. While this is the main focus, the story also draws on the political upheavals in India at that time in history. The story is desperately sad and there is nothing particularly redemptive about it - in other words, unlike most of these mass produced Hollywood movies that seem to have a 'fairytale' ending, there isn't a happy or neatly tied up ending. This is a realistic drama that doesn't spare your feelings and leave you satisfied that it's all OK in the end. Having said that, there is some satisfaction gained from the courage shown by the main male character TK.

Highly recommended.
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on 29 September 2015
A very classy production about lies and the consquences of keeping dark secrets hidden. I enjoyed this period drama very much and it wasn't what I expected at all. Very beautifully filmed and casting choice.
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on 26 March 2015
Absolutely stunning scenery and although the actors in themselves gave decent performances, I found the scripting slightly poor and the storyline a bit on the predictable side. I think the characters themselves were also a bit one dimensional. The last half an hour or so of the film was a tad laborious and was tempted to switch off. Such a shame.
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on 14 March 2015
Was expecting proper passionate love story not monsoon murder mystery in leafy India where Ken Barlow's son cheats on blond Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice with ever so versatile actress Nanita Das who kills herself over a wimpy English dude with no cajones, yes I meant draws. Been there love and he isn't worth it. Would have saved you a great deal of heart ache. Who would have known the real hero of the film was TK AKA Raul Bose (I think that was his name ). In summary was neither here nor there film! Beautiful landscape though.
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