Ty Burr
September 05, 1997 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love

Current Status
In Season
Sarita Choudhury, Indira Varma
Mira Nair

We gave it a B

What we have in Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love is not a documentary for double-jointed lovers but an opulent Indian fairy tale with all the soul of a Bette Davis-Joan Crawford melodrama. Writer-director Mira Nair uses the circa 3rd-century sexual-philosophical text as a springboard for a 16th-century tale of the rivalry between a princess (Mississippi Masala‘s Sarita Choudhury) and a servant (the astonishing Indira Varma), as they catfight and bond over a decadent prince (The English Patient‘s Naveen Andrews) and a hunky sculptor (Raymon Tikaram). There’s feminist wisdom in this sumptuous spectacle, but it takes a backseat to the erotic and exotic. A great date movie in theaters; on video, make sure your couch is a foldout. B

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