Water

Water

Water

Set in 1938 colonial India against Mahatma Gandhi's rise to power, focuses on a group of women condemned by Hindu law to spend the rest of their lives in an institution, or ashram, on the banks of the Ganges because they are widows. While the devout Shakuntula (Biswas) spends her days assisting a local holy man, the limpid-eyed Kalyani (Ray) is forced into prostitution by the ashram's domineering housemother.

The arrival of Chuyia, a bewildered 8-year-old whose pre-destined husband has recently died, creates turmoil in the ashram. The child's impudence and high spirits encourage Shakuntula to question her fidelity to a religion that turns widows into penniless outcasts. Kalyani too is inspired to rebellion and begins a love affair with Narayan (Abraham), a handsome law student on fire with Gandhian idealism. But when Narayan's wealthy parents are informed of the relationship, the couple's defiance of religious taboos is an invitation to tragedy.

This is the third film in Mehta's 'Elemental Trilogy' - Fire and Earth have preceded it.

2006Rating: M114 minsIndiaHindi with English subtitles
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Reviews & comments

Not to be missed, and they say these pratcices still exist in some form.

A sensitively presented film demonstrating more than adequately the draconian mores of ancient religious belief and practice. The imposition, usually worst applied to women or the poorest, of dehumanising expectations and rites seems to have more to do with the maintenance of the style of life of the priveliged than of achieving a higher or better...

4.0
Variety

Variety

press

Deftly balancing epic sociopolitical scope with intimate human emotions, all polished to a high technical gloss, Deepa Mehta's Water is a profoundly moving drama...

USA Today

USA Today

press

A haunting and disturbing film, set in 1938, about "widow houses." Though occasionally overwrought, it emerges as life-affirming...

The New York Times

The New York Times

press

An exquisite film... Shifting between romantic melodrama and spiritual inquiry, "Water" flows with the simplicity of a fairy tale. The lovers' struggle may be the heart of the film, but Shakuntula's awakening is its soul. In the triumphant and moving final scene, her selfless act of bravery offers hope to Chuyia and India alike...

New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

press

An engrossing and wonderful watch with some fine performances but in the end it feels like a film that lost its nerve...

3.0
Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

press

Exquisite storytelling, acting and visuals...

Variety

Variety

press

Deftly balancing epic sociopolitical scope with intimate human emotions, all polished to a high technical gloss, Deepa Mehta's Water is a profoundly moving drama...

USA Today

USA Today

press

A haunting and disturbing film, set in 1938, about "widow houses." Though occasionally overwrought, it emerges as life-affirming...

The New York Times

The New York Times

press

An exquisite film... Shifting between romantic melodrama and spiritual inquiry, "Water" flows with the simplicity of a fairy tale. The lovers' struggle may be the heart of the film, but Shakuntula's awakening is its soul. In the triumphant and moving final scene, her selfless act of bravery offers hope to Chuyia and India alike...

New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

press

An engrossing and wonderful watch with some fine performances but in the end it feels like a film that lost its nerve...

3.0
Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

press

Exquisite storytelling, acting and visuals...

Not to be missed, and they say these pratcices still exist in some form.

A sensitively presented film demonstrating more than adequately the draconian mores of ancient religious belief and practice. The imposition, usually worst applied to women or the poorest, of dehumanising expectations and rites seems to have more to do with the maintenance of the style of life of the priveliged than of achieving a higher or better...

4.0