Monday, April 9, 2007

Water : An Insightful Movie

I watched WATER, a movie by DEEPA MEHTA. She is a movie-maker who has consistently provided her audiences with cinema of the utmost quality. Movies such as Fire, 1947-Earth, Bollywood/Hollywood--and now Water-- have helped establish her prowess as a gifted movie maker and displayed her versatility.
Water brings us into the world of those girls and women unfortunate enough to have become
widows. The movie is set in historical times, before India´s independence. We see the movies from the eyes and ears of Chuihya (Sarala), a seven-year-old widow sent to live in an ashram for widows. She encounters the vile head of the widows, Madhumati (Manorma), who exploits the residents.
The only opposition to this tyranny is provided by Shakuntala (Seema Biswas). Kalyani (Lisa Ray) is the beautiful young widow who befriends Chuhiya--she is pimped by Madhumati and the eunuch Gulabi (Raghuveer Yadav). Ironically, she is sent to work across the Ganges. Narayan (John Abraham) is a follower of Gandhi who falls in love with Kalyani, not caring about her status as a widow.
Through WATER, Deepa Mehta exposes the cruelties of Hinduism against widows. Deepa Mehta does not reject Hinduism as a respectable religion. She is merely raising the right questions--she is striving to empower those with the means to help those widows who, till this day, suffer in the same conditions described in the film. No religion is perfect. Each one has a dark past. Hinduism is no different. It has its own dark corners.
A.R. Rahman has composed the Hindi songs in the film. They blend nicely with the story.
Lisa Ray is a complete revelation. Her Hindi has improved leaps and bounds. Not only does she look stunning, but she is convincing as the prostituted widow trained to be submissive. John Abraham is too chic for his role. He´s just one of those people that cannot look average even with the right makeup. But his mannerisms and dialogue delivery are perfect. This is the performance that he should be most proud of. Seema Biswas, is no less spectacular. Her fear, concern, and confidence are ideal and she proves that she is ideal for the role. Manorma plays an evil role to perfection. After being out of films for a long time, she returns with a bang, playing a character you love to hate. Raghuveer Yadav lends adequate support as the heartless eunuch. Waheeda Rehman is in a small role that could have been played by anyone, not suitable for an actress of her calibre. Sarala (Chuhiya) is the best part of WATER. She´s cute, energetic and the perfect choice for the role. This makes her performance even more profound. What an amazing actress!
This is the perfect end to what could be called the perfect trilogy. Water´s international recognition is not without reason and this can only be verified by experiencing it yourself. The movie is bold and unapologetic for being so. It shows the truth as it is. Water is so real and passionate that you will easily be moved and shocked.

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