24 August 2006 | dswn
A very beautiful first film
In her very first effort, director Kruti Majmudar has created a beautiful film that spans the centuries and gives viewers a delightful peek into Indian history and culture. This love story, with clever twists, is well-acted and nicely paced. The male and female leads (Emily Hamilton and Parvin Dabas, whom you may remember from Monsoon Wedding) play dual roles. In the first part of the film they are characters in a period piece set in the 1850s. Later on, they play a man and woman in current-day India. Cinematographer Rajen Kothari captures the incredible landscape and gives the film a very polished feel. My favorite scene is one where young Indian women are learning to dance at the site of the well that was the springboard for Majmudar's story and also the subject of her Masters thesis for her architecture degree. (Majmudar answered audience questions following the film's World Premiere at the Stony Brook Film Festival in July). The combination of authentic music and gorgeous costumes, traditional dancing and camera movement made me feel I was in on the action -- if not as a participant, at least as an on-site observer. I also enjoyed the character Grace Roberts, a British school teacher with an independent spirit and clearly an example of feminist tendencies going back more than 200 years. The thousand folks who attended the premiere gave the film a very warm reception.