Sunday, April 06, 2008

Water: How the intellectuals get it wrong

"A magnificent film... Unforgetably touching the heart - Salman Rushdie.

"Utterly beautidul... A dazzling, stirring, marvelous film." Film Review.
Acadamy Award Nominee 2007.

A film by Deepa Mehta, it gained high plaudits from the critics, though in India and Pakistan it was banned. Some Indian critics felt the acting was poor, the main stars being chosen for their good looks rather than their acting ability.

The story is set in 1938 and depicts the plight of Hindu widows in India then. They had three choices - marry their husband's younger brother, throw themselves on his funeral pyre (this had been outlawed by the British) or live celibate lives of quietness in a widows retreat. Women were regarded as worthless, a drag on the household economy and a dowry was needed if you wanted to marry them off. An alternate choice was to marry your female children off at a very young age to an old man who was reasonably rich. When he died the young girl - in this film aged only 8 - is deposited in a widow's retreat.

Who funds these retreats? They were self funding. Young attractive widows were hired out as prostitutes. In this story, one of these young women and a young Brahmin lawyer, who is a follower of Gandhi, fall in love. They plan to marry, but on a visit to his home she discovers that his father was one of her former clients. Bereft, she kills herself.

Now that's a good plot. But the film is just dreadful. It was so slow. After an hour of nothing happening we turned it off and watched an episode of The Good Life. You can have teh dialogue in either Hindi or English. but the English is incomprehensible and there are no subtitles. Don't waste your time.

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