Santosh Sivan’s Before the Rains

12 Jul


There is no denying his talent behind the camera but Santosh Sivan is one of those directors whose work always intrigues me while leaving me faintly dissatisfied. I can’t help but suspect that at time he relies on his undoubted technical brilliance to do most of the heavy lifting when directing a movie, at the obvious cost of the story.

The TerroristThere was The Terrorist, for example, which is either one of the best films I’ve ever seen or one of the neediest – I can’t make up my mind. Loosely based on the story of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, the movie tracks the emotional and mental state of a young woman gearing up for a suicide attack.

MalliThen there’s Halo and Malli, two movies I haven’t seen but really want to. They might be categorized as children’s films but each carries within itself a hint of the larger, more disturbing world – in Halo it’s the 1993 Bombay riots, in Malli it is physical disability. I’d love to see how he’s tackled those themes.

And let’s not forget his ‘sell-out’ movie: Asoka, starring Shahrukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor. The writing was terrible, the ideas confused, the execution stuttered between arthouse and wannabe commercial, ultimately bombed at the box office – and yet managed to come up with the odd scene here and there that collectively left a greater impact than some blockbuster movies. People are still trying to figure out why it was such a big hit on TV a few years after its release.

AsokaOf late he’s stuck more or less to the arthouse circuit – his last two movies were in Tamil and Malayalam respectively: Navarasa and Ananthabhadram. The two films couldn’t be more different. Navarasa was the story of a little girl who discovers her beloved uncle’s transgendered identity and takes us along on a journey into a subculture that not many know or think about. Ananthabhadram was a fantasy about black magic, sex and family feuds. Fun. Or do I mean weird?

Now his latest film, his first English language movie, Before the Rains will make it’s debut at the Toronto Film Festival:

Before is set in the 1930s’ India when roads were being constructed through hills for spice trade. The story revolves around a Britisher who falls in love with his Indian housemaid (Das). He seeks help from his farm assistant, who is a member of the woman’s tribe (Bose) to cope with the situation. It isn’t a typical Raj film but more of a human drama, where the farm assistant is caught in a dilemma.

The movie stars Nandita Das (who seems to be doing really well these days), Rahul Bose, Jennifer Ehle, Linus Roache and John Standing among others. No word yet as to the date of general release but tickets to the festival are available now so pick them up if you’re in the vicinity.

Ananthabhadram: I have no idea what the hell is going on but it’s got Riya Sen in it.

Asoka: I still can’t believe Anu Malik composed this


Posted by on July 12, 2007 in Entertainment, Movies, News, Video


6 responses to “Santosh Sivan’s Before the Rains

  1. videowatch

    July 12, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    Nice post….So far I’ve seen only “Halo” and “Asoka” so far…”Halo” is definitely one of best Indian movies I’ve seen…”Asoka”..I won’t say anything..You’ve pretty much nailed it…

  2. Kokonad

    July 12, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    Reg Asoka: Anu Malik did compose it… but bits and pieces of some songs used in this movie were “inspired” from tracks by Safri Duo (a percussion band of two guys who are famous for this piece – ). One of the obvious songs borrowed from Safri Duo was “Snakefood”.

    As regards to the link I provided, hook your computer to a good set of speakers and turn up the volume. You will not regret it. 🙂

  3. chriz

    July 13, 2007 at 5:09 am

    Indeed he is great…

  4. Amrita

    July 13, 2007 at 10:27 am

    Thanks videowatch! I really have to see Halo!

    Koke – aha! I knew it was too good to be true. I’d heard of the Safri Duo but never actually heard them till you sent me that link. They’re amazing! Thanks!

    Chris – glad you agree 🙂

  5. gagan

    July 15, 2007 at 4:36 am

    Hey, Hey no insinuation about Riya Sen there I hope…. or I will have to take up arms..:)…..hey amrita send us ur email i wll send u some links .. not joost but some shady likenesses …BTW no offense intende by answering ur comment in anonymous mode…can’t be bothered to sign in some times….

  6. Amrita

    July 15, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    Gagan – heaven forbid!! Riya Sen for president! :mrgreen: how do you mean anonymous mode? I can see you right and tight. Will send email 🙂

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