Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996)
In this visually striking saga of one woman's search for personal and sexual freedom in 16th century India, Maya (Indira Varma) is a servant girl who is a handmaid to Tara (Sarita Choudhury), a princess. Maya and Tara have been close friends since childhood, and when Rasa Devi (Rekha), an elegant courtesan, is brought in to instruct Tara in the lessons of the Kama Sutra, the handbook of the art of physical love, Maya is allowed to observe. Rasa teaches Tara the Dance of Enticement as a prelude to her upcoming marriage to the King, Raj Singh (Naveen Andrews), but the beautiful Maya turns out to be the more capable student, and when Raj invites Maya to his bedchamber, he proves to be no match for her seductive powers. Needless to say, Tara is furious when she learns that Maya has stolen Raj's heart, and Maya is banished from the palace. On the road, Maya soon meets a handsome sculptor, Jai Kumar (Ramon Tikaram), who is entranced by Maya's beauty and sexual prowess; she soon becomes his lover and favorite model. However, King Raj is still obsessed with Maya, and while Tara has won his hand in marriage, he has taken to drowning himself in opium and mindless sex with his mistresses when not trying to win Maya back. Several of the erotic scenes in Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love were trimmed so the film could receive an "R" rating for its American theatrical release, but it appeared uncut on home video; the film had to be trimmed more extensively to gain a theatrical release in India, where it was filmed. … More
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Critic Reviews for Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love
Mira Nair's film fails as a melodrama as well as erotic fantasy; the sexul material had to be toned down due to censorship.
Audience Reviews for Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love
Its probably hard to take a subject like the Kama Sutra and distill it into a good movie that's not rated X. That being said, this movie does a good job at creating a plot around a tale of forbidden love that is set in an India of ages past.
The staging and art direction are all well done-- and one certainly gets a sense of the opulence of India, simply through the luxuriant costume design that pops up in every scene. Where the movie has problems is that the protagonists are attractive, but not compelling as actors. We feel pity for their plight as part of a caste, but the villains are so equally cardboard that its hard to feel much empathy for anyone in this movie. The other curious aspect of this movie is the ending-- which isn't happy... and seems more a statement on the caste system itself. The feminism of the main character in the final scenes seems quite absurd, but perhaps that is just the nature of this difficult to adapt material.
The movie is a competition between best friends Maya and Tara. Tara marries the king and Maya becomes the king's courtesan.More
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