Before the Rains is "presented" by the production entity Merchant Ivory, and its setting and circumstances - India, in the late days of the British Raj, before World War II - is certainly Merchant Ivory-ish. Too bad, though, that James Ivory didn't get his hands on this melodrama of colonial karma, or that the director's trusty screenwriter, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, wasn't involved.
As scripted by Cathy Rabin and directed by Santosh Sivan, Before the Rains is never less than compelling, but never more than adequately realized. Linus Roache is decent enough, acting-wise, but his character is quietly contemptible: Henry Moores is an English tea planter in southwestern India, building a road to cultivate and harvest spices. Henry has his faithful "man," T.K. Neelan (Rahul Bose) - an educated Indian, well-read, devoted - and treats him as a friend, up to a point.