Monday, August 07, 2006


Last week got a chance to watch Deepa Mehta’s WATER, an period movie, well it was more like a documentary with some love story into it. It gives a plight of widows in India in 1930’s. Everyone knows that Indian social structure has stood on numerous sad beliefs throughout generations. We, have been following ill-logical ceremonies like child marriage, sati system, class system, social de-gradation of Widows etc. sometimes I feel the best thing that happened to India, was that it was under the empire, the British along with them brought new ideas and the best thing the Education system was introduced and look at India now, we have reached an level where we are talking about being in league of developed countries for mutual co-operation.
Water as a movie made me realize the fact that we are much fortunate to live in an open society where social evils don’t exist. I haven’t seen her previous movies like 1947 Earth; Fire….but Water is a well made movie with a social message into it. I totally don’t deny the fact that India is done with treating woman equally or things like that…I still feel we have a long way…especially at the village level where majority of our country lives.
Water is a story about questioning once own beliefs and the evolution of new age thinking which started during the Gandhian era.
John Abraham doesn’t fit into the role, but a very decent performance indeed. Lisa Ray still looks gorgeous and appreciate the fact that Directors are bold enough to explore a story into very sensitive religious annals. There was a controversy surrounded with this movie too and it was later on completed secretly in Srilanka, Varanasi being the first choice to shot the movie. Some real classical Music by AR Rahman. I don’t think the movie will make it to the Indian theatres, so Cd’s and DVD’s will be available in the loose.

Deepa Mehta's 'Water' finally sees the light of the day. As an opening film of the 30th annual Toronto International Film, it is back in news after it was stopped from being shot in India years back. Third in the trilogy after Fire and Earth, Water is director Deepa Mehta's long cherished dream that is finally realized after a wait for number of years. Produced by David Hamilton, Water was secretly shot in Sri Lanka under the fake title of 'Full Moon' to avoid any further controversy that could have hampered the completion of the movie.

Year - 1938 Era Pre-independence India, when it was under the colonial rule of British
This was the time when child marriage in certain sections of society was a bitter reality. An age old reality about young girls being married to much older men.
And what happened when these men died? Their wives were forced to spend the rest of their lives in 'ashrams' [institutions] meant for widows.
The same reality struck with Chuyia [Sarala], a 8 year old girl, who was married only to find herself being sent to a widow's ashram due to her husband's death. The reason for being sent to the 'ashram'? To make amends for the sins from her previous life that would have been the cause of her husband's death.
This is where Chuyia meets three women from different age groups who form an integral part of WATER - 20-year-old Kalyani [Lisa Ray], 35-year-old Shakuntala [Seema Biswas] and an 80-year-old woman Madhumati who is counting her last days.
Madhumati is the senior most of all and heads the women in the 'ashram'. She is a character in herself as she loves passing orders all around to the other widows while behind closed doors she loves smoking 'ganja' and passing time while hearing gossips from her only friend Gulabi, a eunuch and a pimp.
Shakuntala is the mystery woman amongst all the widows as she s quite and reserved, Though she is intelligent and educated, she has been caught in a situation where on one side she is unhappy about the shape her life has taken versus her respect for the Hindu religion and culture.
Kalyani is the most beautiful of all and has a simple outlook towards life. Sweet, simple and almost like a child, she has been forced into a profession where pimp Gulabi is required to escort her for the services to the rich. As a bread earner for the ashram and a devotee of Lord Krishna, she takes all this in her stride peacefully attributing it to her 'karma'.
Since Chuyia, a new entrant to this ashram, is an adolescent girl, she can afford to be spirited and full of life. Not one to sit back and take things as they come, her aggressive attitude set the other women in the 'ashram' also thinking. The biggest difference comes in the life of Kalyani, who inspite of being a widow falls in love with Narayan [John Abraham], who is a young'ncharming upper-class Gandhian idealist. A follower of Gandhi's 'Quit India Movement', he also believes in social justice for women and decides to bend the rules of that era by marrying Kalyani.
While remarriage was a taboo in the society, Kalyani (with support from Narayan) challenges the system and forces other widows to think about right versus wrong, present versus future!
Giles Nuttgens is the cinematographer of the movie [he also shot Fire and Earth] and Colin Monie is the movie's editor. Background score for the film is done by Mychael Danna while songs are composed by A.R.Rehman. Others in the starcast include Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Waheeda Rehman, Raghuvir Yadav, Vinay Pathak and Rishma Malik.
While 'Water' would soon see an international release in countries across globe, the talks are still in progress for the movie's screening in India. Ironically so for a movie that has its roots in India !

1 comment:

bharati said...

Whew! I never ever got a clue that this movie was ready to be watched a year ago! I was desparately following the controversies against the movie, then at one moment I simply gave up thinking that this movie can never take shape amidst so much of inherent insanity around!

Now when I read your blog, I could dig up from the dead memories of mine that this was a movie I was hell-bent on watching! Kudos to Deepa Mehta to have the guts to disillusion the people and tell them, "This is your face!!"

And also to Steve for maintaining this blog so elegantly :-)