Shaji Karun's love story takes its inspiration from Kathakali, a dance-drama with a 500-year history, which is indigenous to the Kerala region of India. In the late 1930s, 10-year-old Kunhikuttan begins his training in this very taxing art form. When he is eighteen, he is forced to marry someone he does not love. The marriage is disastrous. As he becomes more and more successful in his career, he meets a young woman named Subhadra who is married to high society but somewhat lost in her gilded cage. Subhadra is obsessed by the hero of the Mahabarata Epic, Arjuna, who also loves a woman named Subhadra. She falls in love with Kunhikuttan, who plays Arjuna on stage; but she is often confused between the real and the imaginary. The film, which carries the habitual sadness of Karun's previous films, Piravi and My Own, is enriched with the photography of Renato Berta and Santosh Sivan and remarkable acting by one of Kerala's finest actors, Mohanlal (who is also the co-producer), in the role of Kunhikuttan. 52nd Cannes Film Festival, Un Certain Regard, 1999.
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