Political Film Society - Before the Rains

PFS Film Review
Before the Rains


Before the RainsHenry Moores (played by Linus Roache) runs a tea plantation in rural, upcountry Kerala. When the film begins, he is about to sign a loan for the funds to build a road so that he can make millions by supplying the fragile crops of cardamom and other spices to the world market. To obtain the cooperation of T. K. Neelan (played by Rahul Bose), his chief assistant, he offers to name the road in his honor. However, he has been having an affair with sensual Sajani (played by Nandita Das), his housekeeper, while his wife Laura (played by Jennifer Ehle) has been out of town, and the two appear very much in love. Sajani, however, works at the Moores estate by day and returns to keep house for her suspicious husband by night. On the fateful day when Moores and Sajani drive off to squeeze honey from a honeycomb, they make love in a beautiful pond below a touristic waterfall. Unknown to them, two young boys spot them and report what they see to members of the village. Soon after Laura returns from her out-of-town trip to find her husband sexually unavailable, Sajani’s husband beats her to find out the identity of her lover. When Sajani suddenly appears one night at Moores’s abode on the estate, hoping to be taken in, the noir ending unfolds with gunfire, a village trial, and Laura’s departure with their son, but stops before the inevitable demise of Neelan and Moores. Throughout the film, directed by Santosh Sivan, the theme of India’s struggle for independence from British exploitation is unrelenting. MH

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