I Have Found It (Kandukondain Kandukondain), is an Indian adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. This film is in Tamil, and came out in 2000.
The story is about a wealthy family that live in the village of Poongudi. Their wealth is from their grandfather, who has been confined to his sickbed for many years. In his stead his daughter and granddaughters manage his huge house, temple, farm, and college.
Sowmya, the oldest of the three daughters, is the practical, responsible one, and acts as the Principal of her family’s college and teaches classes on computers. She also takes care of the temple and farm. Her first suitor died, and since then she’s been labeled ‘unlucky’, and new suitors don’t want to take a chance.
Her younger sister Meenakshi (nicknamed Meenu), is the impetuous one, determined to marry for love, not practicality. She wants a pure, strong love, and a man who can quote poetry. She doesn’t hold back from speaking her mind.
Manohar is a young man with dreams of becoming a film director. Sowmya mistakes him as a potential match (sent by the matchmaker), when he goes to her house looking to film there. Seeing her sadness, Manohar starts to fall for her, but wants to wait until he makes a name for himself.
Major Bala is a wounded soldier who has become somewhat bitter after the war. He is wealthy, thanks to his flower business, but drinks and is grouchy. When he meets Meenakshi for the first time, he is taken with her singing. He encourages her talent, even buying her a tambura from Tanjore, and in exchange for her taking lessons, he stops drinking. While he really cares for Meenu, he considers himself too old for her.
Any potiential hope Bala has of winning Meenu is crushed when Meenu meets young financial wizard Srikanth, who helps her when she twists her ankle, can quote her favorite poets, and is just as impulsive as she is.
Then their grandfather dies, leaving the house to his son, who hasn’t visited in 10 years. To add insult to injury, this son then turns his sister and her daughters out of the house, forcing them to move to Madras.
There, without much money, they can barely pay rent for a small place, and the girls struggle to find jobs. In the meantime, Srikanth’s company goes bankrupt, and he disappears for a while.
Slowly their fortunes change through hard work and the help of friends, and Sowmya and Meenu marry the right men.
Overall, this is a much more traditional (and conservative, no kissing!), Indian movie than the previous Bollywood Austen adaptions I’ve watched (Bride & Prejudice, Aisha). The style reminded me of the Indian movies of my childhood, where the music has classical Indian instruments and style, actors lip sync with the songs, and where the dance sequences have metaphorical meaning within the story. It wasn’t uncommon for two people to be talking, then transported to Egypt and convey their flirting in a dance with multiple costume changes (P.S. Indian movies play the WHOLE song). The pageantry in I Have Found It may read as cheesy to some, but made me nostalgic, and with two beautiful leading actresses, there were some gorgeous moments.
In terms of following Jane Austen, I think that this movie does a very good job. With a running time of two and a half hours, it follows the story (adapted to India) as closely as some BBC adaptions I’ve seen. Although the two sisters were very beautiful, I didn’t really think the actors playing their suitors where that good looking, but they won me over, especially Major Bala. He’s played by major Indian film star Mammootty, and I think his acting was the stand out performance. This movie ended up feeling very romantic. I was invested in the stories and I felt like each character had a nice backstory and that their emotions were well conveyed, so I rooted for them to be happy.
The two screenshots above are from my favorite dance sequence of the movie, mostly for how pretty the pops of red looks against that desert backdrop (ETA: but ignore the subtitles on this youtube video, they are SO off and don’t match the subtitles on the DVD, which make much more sense):