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I Have Found It

Kino // Unrated // January 18, 2005
List Price: $24.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by John Sinnott | posted January 10, 2005 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:

India has quite a booming film industry.  Bombay, the center of the Indian movie industry, produces 800 films a year, much more than Hollywood does.  These Indian films have been grouped under the term 'Bollywood movies' by the press and public, and while they are not currently well known in the United States, they are becoming more accessible as time goes on.  Kino International has released an interesting Bolllywood epic, Kandukondain Kandukondain (I Have Found It) a retelling of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.  Director Rajiv Menon has moved the setting to present day India and turned the story into a musical, giving an interesting twist to the classic English story.  While there are some minor differences between the original source and the finished film, this movie should interest both Bollywood fans and Austen afficionados.
The movie, surprisingly enough, starts off with a good action scene.  Some soldiers are flown to a remote village by helicopter where they are ambushed and get into a fire fight.   I was initially puzzled by this scene and wondering what it had to do with Jane Austen.  It really is just a device to kick start the film, and the only action sequence that it contains.

The movie is actually the story of two sisters, Sowmya (Tabu,) and her younger sister Meenu (Aishwarya Rai.)  They live with their mother in their ailing grandfather's house.  Their mother tends to her bed ridden father even though he cut her off when she ran away to get married against his wishes many years ago.

The two girls are now of marring age, and Sowmya has been having trouble finding a partner.  Though she is beautiful and wealthy, her previous finance died, and that has covered her with a cloud of 'bad luck,' and the matchmaker is having troubles finding a family that will accept such an unluck girl.  When a young energetic budding film maker (Ajith) sees Sowmya while scouting for locations, the two fall in love.

Meenu, on the other hand doesn't want a matchmaker to select her mate, she wants to find him herself.  She wants a handsome, energetic, romantic individual who will sweep her off her feet.  The exact opposite of Captain Bala (Mammootty,) an older solider who lost a leg in the war and who now spends his days as a florist and drinking heavily.  After Bala hears Meenu sing though, he is smitten with her and become very devoted, even though the young girl is often cruel to him.
Meenu does find her dynamic love when she hears a young rich investment banker, Sirkanth, reciting poetry in the rain.  He casts a spell on the young girl and she falls madly in love with him, spurning the loyal Captain Bala.

Things take a turn for the worse however.  Sowmya's movie maker won't marry until he's directed his first film, and he can't seem to find funding for his movie.  (A movie called "Speed" about a train that has to maintain a high velocity or else a bomb will explode.)  Meenu's financier has his company collapse around him and can't be bothered with anything as trivial as a young girl.  Worst of all is the fact that the girl's grandfather dies.  When his will is read, it is revealed that his house and all his money have been left to his son, someone he hasn't seen in 10 years.  The girls and their mother are now out on the street, and so they move to the big city and find employment with the meager skills that they have.  Can a pair of now destitute women find romance and happiness in modern day India?

This movie is dramatically different from the standard Hollywood fare in a lot of ways.  First off, it is a long film.  Clocking in at a buns-numbing two and a half hours, the film seems overly long in parts.  This is also a musical, which means that there are song and dance numbers.  A lot of them.  At the drop of a hat, people will spontaneously burst into song.  Often.  I haven't been exposed to much Indian music and these songs didn't do much for me, but they really didn't do much for the plot either and seemed silly at times.  A lot of the images in the musical numbers are laughably absurd to my western eyes.  A group of children wearing elephant masks and singing around the heroine and field laborers with painted bodies and fancy masks acting as the chorus were just some of the things that left me scratching my head.  While some of the songs did fit in well with the story (especially the song after Meenu leaves the recording studio,) others seem to come about for no reason at all.  Trimming several of them would have improved the film greatly.

The acting was good overall, with a few standouts.  Aishwarya Rai was great in the film.  Not only is she stunningly beautiful, but she gives a good performance too.  She has a huge amount of screen presence being very energetic and dynamic, yet played the sober parts very well also.  After watching this movie, I can see why she's such a big star in India.

Mammootty who played the crippled Captain Bala was also excellent.  He didn't overplay his role, something that would have been easy to do.  He was able to convince viewers of his emotions while being stoic, something that's not easy to do.

Some of the direction is a little old fashioned looking.  The musical numbers were filled with twirling women in flowing gowns and the movie had young lovers running into each others arms in slow motion.  This didn't distract from the story, though it did make me realize that I wasn't watching an American film.

When all was said and done, I was glad I saw this film, but I didn't think it was great.  The songs really distracted from the story in parts (did I mention there were a lot of song numbers) and I thought the pace was a little slow.  Some of the characters (such as the mother and youngest sister who was hardly in the film) weren't developed enough, and some of the plot devices will appear very corny to western audience.  I have to admit that I enjoyed Monsoon Wedding, the only other Bollywood film I've screened, a lot more.

The DVD:



The movie was presented in Tamil, the language it was filmed in, with optional English subtitles.  There is not a dub track.

The stereo soundtrack wasn't the greatest.  There as some audio distortion in several places, which I wasn't expecting for such a recent film.  This wasn't a problem through the whole film, but there were sections in both the dialog and music where the sound breaks up a bit.  Aside from that, the audio had a good range.


The movie is presented in widescreen, but it isn't anamorphically enhanced.  The English subtitles are in the in the lower black bar and doesn't interfere with the image.  The quality was lower than I was expecting for such a recent film.  The colors are fine, but not quite as deep and I would have liked.  There were also several instances of damaged frames and other print defects.  These weren't distracting but some of the other defects were.  There is quite a lot of aliasing throughout the film.  The fine lines shimmer and parallel lines dance around to the point where it gets fairly annoying.


The bonus material on this disc includes a trailer for the movie, five commercials for the soundtrack CD, six music videos that consist of montages from the movie, six songs from the movie, and text filmographies of the actors in the major roles.

Final Thoughts:

This is definitely a different take on Jane Austen.  The plot changes were minor, and it was interesting to see this story set in modern day India. The film didn't really do a lot for me though.  I really didn't enjoy many of the song numbers which seemed to interrupt the flow of the story.  This is a high budget film that is well made, and people who like Bollywood films will undoubtedly enjoy this one.  Die hard Jane Austen fans should also make a point in seeing it.  Others would be best just Renting it.

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