Monday, May 2, 2011

"Before the Rains" - So what happened when the rains came?

A movie by Santosh Sivan, "Before the Rains" tells a story with an ending that only partially ends the story while ignoring a large part of what it depicts.

Why did Sajani kill herself?
Who do we hold responsible for her death?
Just the Englishman? Because he didn't accept her into his family? Or is it deeper than that?
What about the society?
Did she ever have a choice?
Did she have the choice to marry the guy she'd have liked to? Did she love the man she was married to? Is it wrong that she had a relationship with a man she loved?
Who gave her husband the right to beat her?

How different would it have been if the society she lived in wasn't the way it was? Would she still have killed herself if the society respected her freedom and choice? You tell a person whom to marry and you expect the person to love that person too.

Flags for freedom are raised in the end. What about the freedom of women? Does the flag make any difference to them? Would they also be free with the independence of the country? Are they free today?

What hypocrisy does the movie propagate when it symbolizes freedom with just the going away of the englishman? What society does it depict in the end? A society which doesn't look into its own flaws but considers only the foreigners as the cause of all its problems? Whose freedom were they fighting for?

Why does TK join the independence struggle in the end? Does he suddenly realise that he was being a slave of the Englishman, who is now a bad guy?

And then comes the "song". "All is well that ends with patriotism and its symbols."
Is patriotism a way to preserve one's "identity" attached to a "nation" or a mechanism to propagate intolerance of one "nation"'s people for the other or something else altogether? Is it real? Do we need patriotism? Can there be life without it?

And it seems the director is in a dilemma about the language preference of his audience. Just the right mix of English speaking malayalis with a little Malayalam here and there seems to resolve it.

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