Interesting film that is fascinating yet disturbing.
Danav is an interesting story about a rajah who buys a 7 year old girl when he is in his 20s so that she can become his lover when she becomes of age. Danav was a difficult film to watch and like because of my distaste of everything the rajah stood for - he really had no redeeming qualities other than giving the girl his orchard and land, although that, too, was to endear her to him. He would blind workers who looked at Lakhsmi, killed people with impunity, and kept Lakshmi a virtual prisoner on his land. INDIRECT SPOILER The rajah buys a strange, wild, strong man (Danav) to entertain Lakhsmi which eventually proves to be the undoing of Danav, himself, and Lakhsmi.
This film was considered for the Cannes Film Festival but was withdrawn by the director because it was shot in 16mm and he felt it did not transfer well to 35mm. The film also did not transfer well to DVD. There were frequent spots where it was blurry and grainy and I had to double check to see that Danav really came out in 2003 because the film quality was so inferior to most films that have come out in the last 10 years.
The acting was good by everyone but the rajah's court jesters started to get stale after a while. Sonali Kulkarni as the 16 year old Lakhsmi gave an award calibre performance and is the most redeeming part of the film. She lights up every frame she is in, has a terrific range, and is the primary reason I gave the film a 7 instead of lower rating.
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