Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist opened mainly to grim reviews from critics. In a conversation with a colleague, I was posed with a tricky question. What according to me is Mira Nair’s most artistically smooth work? I was very clear on my answer. Though my personal favorite would be The Namesake given its kind story and fabulous performances, but Kamasutra was her most tasteful work. Though many people would disagree on this citing inconsistent depiction of power dynamics, I seemed to focus massively on the film’s impeccable sense of detailing contradictory and complex motives of its characters.

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Based on Wajeeda’s Tabassum’s Utaran, the film is nuanced and layered. Delving into the stories of its main characters, the film starkly distinguishes between the power dichotomies of a stratified society. Written from a leftist tenor, the film is a celebration of female sexuality and prowess. Tracing lives of two flat characters, an arrogant princess and her servant playmate, the film isn’t about consuming performance but more of a strict commentary on sexual politics. Vatsyayan’s primary stimulus behind writing Kamasutra was not handing out a guideline to channelize people’s libidos but to demonstrate how domination and subordination in sex magnifies the existent power relations in a society.

Kamasutra Movie Poster
Kamasutra Movie Poster

Weaving a film out of harem politics, the story is about rivalries and burning rage that finds divided between the overwhelming sense of duty and respect for the master and the pronounced feeling of ego and self respect. Set in 16th century India, the film’s unsullied sense of historical sketching builds the story’s ambience. After sleeping with her friend’s fiancé, the protagonist is shunned away. In an encounter with reputed courtesan Rasa Devi, she picks up the shades of sexual art.

Running parallel is the story of the woman who has arrogantly dominated her servant girl for years, but now the same ‘lowly’ person controls her life by sexually captivating the man she is married to. The prerogative play that is maintained aMira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist opened mainly to grim reviews from critics. In a conversation with a colleague, I was posed with a tricky question. What according to me is Mira Nair’s most artistically smooth work? I was very clear on my answer. Though my personal favorite would be The Namesake given its kind story and fabulous performances, but Kamasutra was her most tasteful work. Though many people would disagree on this citing inconsistent depiction of power dynamics, I seemed to focus massively on the film’s impeccable sense of detailing contradictory and complex motives of its characters.

Based on Wajeeda’s Tabassum’s Utaran, the film is nuanced and layered. Delving into the stories of its main characters, the film starkly distinguishes between the power dichotomies of a stratified society. Written from a leftist tenor, the film is a celebration of female sexuality and prowess. Tracing lives of two flat characters, an arrogant princess and her servant playmate, the film isn’t about consuming performance but more of a strict commentary on sexual politics. Vatsyayan’s primary stimulus behind writing Kamasutra was not handing out a guideline to channelize people’s libidos but to demonstrate how domination and subordination in sex magnifies the existent power relations in a society.

Weaving a film out of harem politics, the story is about rivalries and burning rage that finds divided between the overwhelming sense of duty and respect for the master and the pronounced feeling of ego and self respect. Set in 16th century India, the film’s unsullied sense of historical sketching builds the story’s ambience. After sleeping with her friend’s fiancé, the protagonist is shunned away. In an encounter with reputed courtesan Rasa Devi, she picks up the shades of sexual art.

Running parallel is the story of the woman who has arrogantly dominated her servant girl for years, but now the same lowly person controls her life by sexually captivating the man she is married to. The prerogative play that is maintained and portrayed over the entire length of the film, impersonates fabulously the director’s strong sense of vision and her hold over the film’s direction.

To aide her narratives are the spectacular locales and the resplendent sitar sequences of Ustad Vilayat Khan. The film triumph trump card is how a labyrinthine rationale is handled aesthetically, with dignity and mostly with valiant uprightness.

Mira Nair takes credit for testing gallantly a venturous premise like this. Kama Sutra if described in one line is a testament of sexual dynamics and politics which is relevant in the contemporary corporate world even today. A few elements have remained stationary over time!

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