The Book of Love: The Story of the Kamasutra by James McConnachieWhile the title sounds like this is a pretty racy book, it isnt. This is a history of the Kamasutra from when it was first written in India back in the Third Century AD. The author brings out how this book fit into Indian society of the time in the first two chapters. He jumps to the 18th century and the renowned explorer, Richard Burton, translated it into English and in translating it, brought out his own interpretation of the book. This story is covered in the three middle chapters of the book. Finally, in the last two chapters, McConnachie looks at how both Indian and Western society have interpreted this book in the twentieth century. An interesting book about another book and how it has been interpreted over time.
‘Kama Sutra’ a Tale of Tragic Love
The film features an actress new to the screen, Indira Varma, who is an erotic spectacle all by herself. Instead, it has a mood of overripe sensuality — a commingling of skin, sweat, lust, and love — that hits you like opium. The four principal characters are pulled between extremes of bliss and despair. Varma, a servant girl, becomes the object of worship for two men — a selfish young king Naveen Andrews who has married her former mistress Sarita Choudhury , and a handsome sculptor Ramon Tikaram who becomes obsessed with her beauty, then her soul. Kama Sutra is a fairy tale that keeps melting into erotic reverie.
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It was toned down by Trimark Pictures and Nair to emphasize the sensual rather than purely erotic and is being released without an MPAA rating. Trying to evade campiness is to invite it unintentionally, alas. A more effective approach might have been satire, sending up the harem genre as a way of making a feminist comment of the status of women in particular and political tyranny in general. Fassbinder have done so successfully, instead of trying to blend them into an awkward, contradictory whole. Maya ends up cast out of the palace, to begin an odyssey that finds her falling in love with the well-muscled royal sculptor Jai Kumar Ramon Tikaram and learning the secrets of the Kama Sutra from his friend, a priestess of love the striking Rekha, a woman of commanding presence. But they are to be lovers as star-crossed as the miserable Tara and the rapidly decaying Raj, who is endangering the security of his kingdom with his epic debauchery.
To find a film like this from the s, made by a man, would be one thing; to find it made in by Mira Nair is more startling. Nothing in her previous work the great film "Salaam Bombay! The heroine is a servant girl named Maya Indira Varma , who has always lived in the shadow of her childhood friend, the well-born Princess Tara Sarita Choudhury , from "Mississippi Masala''. When Tara is betrothed to the king, Raj Singh Naveen Andrews , Maya slips into his chamber on the night before the wedding and seduces him. The next day she taunts her rival: "All my life I have lived with your used things. Now something I have used is yours forever. She becomes his lover and model, until he decides she cannot be both at the same time, and unwisely in my opinion prefers her as his model.
It takes its title from the ancient Indian text, the Kama Sutra and serves as a common link between the characters. The portion of plot derived from "Utran" takes place from the film's beginning until the scene where Maya says: "Now something I have used is yours forever. Set in 16th century India , this movie depicts the story of two girls who were raised together, though they came from different social classes. They are best friends, but an undercurrent of jealousy and resentment is caused by Tara's haughtiness, symbolised by the fact that Maya is given Tara's hand-me-down clothes and never anything new to wear. As the girls approach marriageable age, Tara resents that Maya is a better classical dancer than she is and that her parents and hunchback brother, Prince Bikram aka "Biki" show affection for her servant. Tara is prepared to marry Prince Raj Singh Naveen Andrews , and Maya is forced into the role of a servant at their wedding festival.