Sunday, March 19, 2006
"Water" is the last of the "element trilogy" from Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta after her "Fire" and "Earth." Set in the 1930s in India, an eight years old girl Chuyia became a widow, and her head was immediately shaved, then was sent to a widow's house to live with other widows for the rest of her live, according to the Hindu religion. She couldn't understand why she couldn't go home to be with her mom. She became friends with another beautiful widow Kalyani, who later fell in love with a Gandhi nationalist Narayan. However, the tragedy continued for these women (30 millions of them in India today) even after they entered they entered the door of this widow house.
This film stirs so much anger and protest from the Hindu fundamentalists, and the production was shut down completely. A few years later, the filmmakers were able to secretly shoot this film in Pakistan with a complete new cast. Speaking of the power of religion.
This performance of the 8 years old girl (who doesn't speak Hindu or English, she has to learn the lines for the film) is deeply moving. The scenes were beautifully shot. But that doesn't mean that this film is not under the influence of the Bollywood style. Despite a few memorable characters, the romance between Kalyani and Narayan is pure for the commercial value to me. Without the romance, there should have enough stories about these widows living like this for hundreds if not thousands of years. So if a widow is not as beautiful as Kalyani, then there won't have a Narayan to fall in love with her. Does that mean then her life is less tragic then? Yes, there will have Bollywood music in this film, perhaps because of this romance.
My rating: 7 out of 10.