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Festivale online magazine Autumn 1997
A Reel Life film section
Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love movie review

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Kama Sutra - book of love, film of pleasures

The best film I've seen this year, Kama Sutra is a sumptuous, thoughtful, evocative story of the twists and turns we make in the road to love.

"Once the wheel of love is set in motion there are no rules and no order."

Maya (Indira Varma) and Tara (Sarita Choudhury) grew up together. As babies they suckled at the breasts of Maya's mother; as children, Maya, the servant girl and Tara, the princess played together and studied together. Tara passed on to Maya her clothes and the wisdom of the Kama Sutra as taught by Rasa Devi (Indian film star Rekha).

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Movie Poster, Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996)
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Rasa walks among her pupils as they sit like lotus flowers on the grass, explaining the fundamentals of the Kama Sutra - the study of love. The Kama Sutra is a handbook, written by men, setting down their requirements of women. But as Rasa explains, the act is not everything. Sexuality has its uses, and its price.

"Real love --- the hardest work of all. The work for which all other work is preparation."

Maya revenges herself on Tara and her hand-me-downs by visiting Tara's promised husband on the night before their wedding. As she has lived her life with Tara's used things, so Tara must live the rest of her life with something that Maya has used. But the cost for the two women is high. Tara pays dearly for her jealousy, and Maya for her thoughtless envy.

Kama Sutra copyright Rasa Film; kamasut.jpg - 26771 Bytes
Maya prepares for her life as a courtesan
Kama Sutra is a glorious celebration of music, dance, and gaily-coloured fabric. The story travels amongst the rocky, brittle, mountains of India, where living things are in stark contrast to their environment. This is a land where stone figures celebrate human sexuality on the temple walls, and where women need to survive against generations of rigid controls on their behaviour.

Endurance and pragmatism are the lessons that Rasa Devi teaches. She finds a way for women to use lemons to make lemonade, so to speak. And ultimately she teaches survival. As she says …

"Life is right in any case"

video DVD movie cover buy kama sutra, Festivale film reviews section Written, directed and produced by women, this is the ultimate women's movie, and yet I doubt there are many healthy men who would want to miss it. Who knows, maybe we'll all learn something from this.

Ali Kayn

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Kama Sutra from the book shops

The Kama Sutra, Vatsyayana, Sir Richard F. Burton

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Just the facts:

Title: Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996)
Written by:
Helena Kriel, Mira Nair
based in part on the short story Hand-me-downs by Waiida Tabassum.
Directed by: Mira Nair
Produced by: Lydia Dean Pilcher
Director of Photography: Declan Quinn

The Players: Naveen Andrews, Sarita Choudhury, Indira Varma, Rekha
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ISSN 1328-8008
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Filed: 30-Apr-1997 : Last updated: 22-Dec-2008 : Last tested: 3-Jul-2014: Last Compiled: 3-Jul-2014
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