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Set in Colonial India in 1937 during the last years of the British Raj, this tragic tale of forbidden love appears to be more about consequences that arise from choices made. Such is the fate of the three main characters, Henry Moores, T.K. Neelan and Sajani.

A well established spice merchant by trade, Moores (Linus Roache) decides to build a road directly connecting spice plantations to the mills, thereby reducing production time and cost. As the title suggests, his biggest concern is to finish the road before the impending monsoons or torrential rains. Assisting him is his idealistic English educated man-servant T.K (Rahul Bose), who also happens to be aware of the ongoing relationship between Moores and child hood friend, Sajani (Nandita Das), the latter's native house keeper. Besides acting as his advisor, T.K gradually becomes his boss' confidant, even accepting an English revolver as a gift. Soon tongues wag and rumors surface as to Sajani's late visits to her English master, arousing the suspicion of her jealous husband.

Before the RainsSure enough, one night she finds her way back, beaten, bruised and seeking refuge, much to the horror of T.K and Moores himself. Expecting the arrival of his wife and son from England, Moores forces T.K to take Sajani away, more so for her own safety than to keep the affair under wraps. Distraught by her lover's betrayal and husband's rage, Sajani takes the extreme step, propelling both men into enormous danger as they haphazardly conceal all evidence of her death. When Sajani is later found missing by her brother and husband, all eyes fall on T.K, the man with the English pistol. Compounding the circumstances is the growing level of nationalism spreading throughout the country leaving T.K to choose between the safety of his English friend or join the independence movement of his people.

As a former cinematographer, Santosh Sivan's directional English debut does hit the spot in more ways than expected. Set on location in the Southern Indian State of Kerala, vibrant colors and the magic of India are brought out through vivid cinematography, truly justifying what is now referred to as â"the land of God's own country". His use of an arresting score goes on to further enchant the viewer right from the start while simultaneously building up an immersive atmosphere. Co-Written by Dan Verete and adapted from his 2001 screenplay for Asphalt Zahov, the plot here is captivating all throughout but seems abrupt towards the end. As such, this may be intentional, inviting viewers to guess the fate of the protagonists. Perhaps Sivan's greatest asset here lies in the acting talents he has employed. While Roache needs no introduction as a versatile actor (also starred in another Indian film, The Namesake), it is Rahul Bose who deserves a worthy mention for his role as a character playing a modern day Pontius Pilate. Roache on the other hand skillfully plays an Englishman with his hand caught in the cookie jar, and in doing so naively opens Pandora's Box. With a reputable status as a veteran Indian actress, Nadita Das also adds her own unique allure in a role that has her name written all over it. With a history in politically charged art films, Das is one of those exceptional Indian actresses to have made a name for herself in Hollywood, way before Aishwarya Rai was crowned â"Miss World".

Mark this down as a â"must see" film and you wont be disappointed. Not because it won the best picture title at the 2008 â"World Film Festival", but because films like these are a rare achievement in film making these days and stands testament to the fundamentals behind the true meaning of art in cinema.


Component Grades
Movie
DVD
4 stars
4 stars
DVD Experience
4 stars

DVD

DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 1.78:1

Subtitles: English; Spanish; Closed Captioned

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 5.1 English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; trailer; audio commentary.

Supplements:

* Commentary
o Feature-length commentary track with Sivan and Roache.
* Previews

Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging

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