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CHEMMEEN

India, 1965 (MIFF 1969, Programme 24)

Director: Ramu Kariat

She was only a fisherman's daughter, but when she got hooked she got netted. A Hindu in Southern India, she grows up to love her father's partner, a Muslim. So the fisherman catches her a sturdy Hindu orphan lad to keep the tradition pure, and dutifully she marries him. Then the fisherman swindles his partner. . . .

All the ingredients of racism, intolerance, prejudice, bigotry and superstition are present in this film of a best-selling, prize-winning Indian novel; and of course the leavening of love creates a tragedy out of what would otherwise be an account of human beings making their usual mess of everything.

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