Based on Thomas Hardy's classic tragedy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, this beautifully presented Bollywood version is surprisingly seamy and steamy (most Bollywood movies scarcely have a kiss), but the lovely Freida Pinto is perfect as our titular heroine. Our 2012 Seattle Inter- national Film Festival screening audience was very quiet as this ended; most of us knew the book, so we weren't surprised. We appreciated the R-rated updates: abortion, cell phones and jets, and suffered with Trishna, as her degradation and humiliation escalated at the hands of that handsome scoundrel.

Let's look at some of the multilingual cast (English and Hindi, with English captions):
  • Freida Pinto ("Slumdog Millionaire") is Trishna, who has man- aged to get some education despite her poverty, but it only serves to make her a misfit in her old village and with her family. Ultimately she has nowhere to turn.
  • Riz Ahmed ("Centurion") is Jay, the son of a wealthy hotelier. He has no drive and no ambition, other than to work his way through the Kama Sutra. As his boredom grows, he demeans Trishna more and more.
  • Roshan Seth ("Amal") is Jay's blind father, disappointed in his son but dependent on him to run the hotel, just the same.
The dusty chaos that is India still mesmerizes, but this film could have been at least fifteen minutes shorter. Our heroine toils in the fields, in a factory, in a kitchen and in a hotel, and while those things are inter- esting, the lingering photography ultimately begins to wear.
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Take a look at a preview:
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