Chandrasena (1935)

CHANDRASENA (1935)
Article 4162 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 2-20-2013
Directed by Rajaram Vankudre Shantaram
Featuring Nalini Tarkhad, Rajani, Sureshbabu Mane
Country: India
What it is: Epic fantasy

Rama and Lakshmana are kidnapped by an underground demon. Can the monkey god Hanuman rescue them?

Given that my copy of this movie is in unsubtitled Marathi, I had to go to IMDB to get a bit of help with that plot description. Even with that help, this wasn’t easy to follow. It’s based on a story from the Ramayana, and I just don’t have the cultural touchstones to follow it. However, there is a wealth of fantastic content, including a tribe of monkey men, people who can fly and appear out of nowhere, a man who can rise from the dead and duplicate himself, a flying crocodile transporting a woman, and a particularly fun sequence in which the monkey god turns into a giant and picks up a normal sized man. There’s some of the strangest props I’ve ever seen in a movie (some of which I think are musical instruments), and some of the most outrageously huge swords I’ve ever encountered. Since I couldn’t quite follow the story, I just let the flow of images wash over me. Like almost all Indian movies, there’s lots of music (though surprisingly little dancing). I was initially amazed that the movie runs under two hours, but according to IMDB, it should run 136 minutes, which means that my copy may be short about thirty minutes. I can’t really evaluate how good the movie is due to the language barrier, but I was entertained well enough.

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