Kerala stars in Santosh Sivan’s English debut

Mairi Mackay at CNN:

Screenhunter_02_aug_01_1219It is roads, of all things, that Indian director Santosh Sivan cites as the inspiration behind his exquisite English-language debut “Before the Rains.”

“As a kid I used to travel to all these fantastic hills which had all the spices and there used to be these beautiful curving roads going deep into the jungles,” he remembers.

In “Before the Rains” Sivan has managed to conjure up the Kerala of his childhood recollections — and there can be few films that evoke India’s natural beauty more breathtakingly.

“I got to know that these [roads] were made by the British people and it always interested me how British people must have interacted with my forefathers because we never had a chance to interact with them,” Sivan continues. Watch a clip of Santosh Sivan talking to CNN about “Before the Rains.”

It is in the dying days of the Empire among the colonialists of the 1930s — the ambitious men who hacked paths through the Keralan jungle to their fortunes in the spice plantations — that Sivan sets his tale of passion and nationalism.

More here.