Sunday, August 30, 2009
“Where do man-widowers live?” whispers a child widow, Chuyia (Sarala), to an adult widow Shakuntala (Seema Biswas) while offering prayer at the bank of a holy river. Other widows yell at Chuyia for speaking such bad of men. At another scene, Shakuntala speaks of an old dead widow as, “She’ll directly go to heaven. If God desires, she will born as a man in her next life.” You are a widow means you are half dead and this movie ‘Water’ is all about this. It’s your misfortune to born as a female.
Water, made in 2005, by Deepa Mehta both as a writer and director, who has notable films to her contributions like 1947 Earth and Fire, stands as a dawn of change to the rustics of Hinduism. It’s a story, of around late 1930s, of a plight of widows living in poverty at a temple in Varanasi. Most of them are forced to live there from their very childhood after the demise of their aged husbands.
Chuyia is a child widow living there by the care of other widows like Kalyani (Lisa Ray) and Shakuntala. These widows are often made involve in sex activities with rich men by an old leader widow, Madhumati (Manorama). Kalyani falls in love with Narayan, played by John Abraham, who is against all kind of taboos and inhuman activities. The rise of Mohandas Gandhi seems to liberate these bad lives. It makes easy for Kalyani and Narayan to tie into marital relationship. But it doesn’t happen so. The relationship built through the help of Chuyia ends after Kalyani discovers Narayan’s father as her sometime partner. Kalyani dies by the river.
Chuyia is sold by that old brutal woman with the help of her right hand, Gulabi (Raghuvir Yadav). Shakuntala makes Chuyia to the hand of Narayan for nurturing.
Water is a great film standing against the still prevailing traditional taboo. At some points, the more desire for promoting the cause has left the characters unfocused and not lively.