After Kmuse and I did our last Indian movie review, I started thinking about some of the Indian movies I watched years ago. I’m a huge Jane Austen fan and in my search for all things Austen, I found a few Indian adaptations. Kandukondain Kandukondain is the Indian version of Sense and Sensibility and it stars my #1 girl crush Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
IMDB Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility is transplanted to contemporary Tamil-speaking India. Serious elder sister Sowmya falls in love with aspiring film director Manohar. Passionate younger sister Meenakshi is admired from afar by wounded commando Captain Bala, but her young heart is set on Srikanth, a businessman who shares her fondness for poetry. More complications arise when the sisters’ grandfather passes away, and they lose their place in the family home.
This is classic Jane Austen with an Indian twist. Brace yourselves a bit because this movie is now almost 20 years old, so it’s a bit dated, think clunky computers and bad hair. That said, I love the whole 2000’s/Y2K “modern” Indian twist to the plot. Edward/Manohar shows up to ask permission to film in Elinor/Sowmya’s home just as the family is prepared to receive a suitor and everyone misunderstands what is happening. I am a big fan of the blind date misunderstanding trope, so this was a charming setup for me. Misunderstandings lead to genuine feelings between Sowmya and Manohar, but there are obstacles in their way. Sowmya’s sister Meenakshi/Marianne also has her own pitfalls with romance.
Indian movies are known for their use of bright colors and song, and this movie does just that. There are several musical sequences in the movie which many times transport you to a completely different place. I love how the songs transform the movie out of the ordinary and into a fantasy. Be prepared for several cheesy scenes, but know that part of this movie’s appeal is that it is showing the formula behind how many Indian movies are made, and it’s supposed to be cheesy.
Sowmya is just as shy and obedient as the original Elinor. Unlike Elinor though, Sowmya is not someone who hides how she feels. When Manohar leaves to film his movie and make his mark on the industry, she rushes to meet him to say goodbye. A modern update is that she has a job. I appreciate that they made her a woman with a college degree in computer programming. She’s an interesting mix of traditional and modern as she takes care of her sick grandfather, but also stands up to bullies and supports her family.
Meenakshi is younger and more impulsive than her sister. Just like Marianne, she is talented musically. Meenakshi is in a love triangle with the exciting stockbroker Srikanth, and the solid and steady ex-soldier Major Bala. She is easily swayed by the flowery words of Srikanth and takes for granted the comforting presence of Major Bala. Her character growth was very satisfying.
The last time I watched this movie was about 12 years ago and I was very excited to find it online and watch it again. I found this to be a nice adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, and I liked how these women dealt with adversity. Instead of sitting and wringing their hands, they jump in and take charge of their own lives. What other English classic adaptations should I watch? Let me know the title and language in the comments below and I’ll check it out.
Until the next song sequence,
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi