Water (Mehta, 2005) View large image
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Directed by: Deepa Mehta

Produced: 2007

Countries & Regions: Canada, India

DVD Details

Certificate: 12

Length: 117 mins

Format: DVD

Region: Region 2

Released: 22 October 2007

Cat No: MTD5336

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Water (Mehta, 2005)

Cast: Waheeda Rehman , Seema Biswas , Sarala , Lisa Ray , John Abraham , Buddhi Wickrama , Ronica Sajnani , Iranganie Serasinghe

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The third instalment of Deepa Mehta’s Elemental Trilogy is a romantic drama examining the plight of widows in pre-partition India. Set in... Read More

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The third instalment of Deepa Mehta’s Elemental Trilogy is a romantic drama examining the plight of widows in pre-partition India. Set in 1938, the film follows the fortunes of a group of widows living together in Benares. Chuyia (Sarala) is a pre-teen, recently widowed by her much older husband, who is sent to the ’widow’s house’ to be looked after. As Indian law prohibits widows from re-marrying, Chuyia battles to keep her spirits high as she comes to terms with the realisation that she may never leave.

From the outset, Deepa Mehta's Water plunges you into a world that is deeply unfamiliar and unsettling: Chuyia is an eight-year-old widow and, Hindu society being what it is, widows have to be sent to an ashram in order to atone for whatever crimes they committed in a former life that resulted in the death of their husbands. The ashram to which she is sent is positively seething with life (imagine a Rohinton Mistry novel filmed by English Patient-period Anthony Minghella): there is the tough old matriarch Madhumati, enigmatic Shakuntala, the pimp Gulabi and the beautiful prostitute Gulyani. Chuyia (clutching to the hope that her mother will come and save her), Shakuntala (looking to reconcile her hatred of being a widow alongside her devout faith) and Gulyani (who falls in love with Narayan, a follower of Ghandi) move one about the other, the plot eventually coming to resemble something of an Indian version of Atonement. Filmed in Sri Lanka, Water is a genuinely moving and redemptive film that manages to challenge and surprise in equal measure.

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