Index_06Maybe because it has become relatively easy and inexpensive to produce music and movies at home it has created a plethora of new film makers. I was thinking about this when I saw all of the previews today. Certainly the huge amount of film festivals has filled a void for Directors, Actors and Producers to show their stuff.  I can’t keep up with all the Indie films that come through New York. 

I had been reading about Water, a new film by Deepa Mehta.  This film is the third in a trilogy of films about India.  Mehta who was born in India in 1939 has come back home, she currently lives in Canada, to make films about realities in India that people want to believe don’t exist and India doesn’t want the Western world to see.

It took a long time to make this film.  Although the film was given the go ahead from the Ministry of Film, there were protests. People burned down the sets, there was delay after delay.  But, she persevered and made the film.  After seeing this film, I am going to rent the first 2 of the 3.

Water is filmed in the holy city of Varnassa that resides on the Ganges River.  The film is set in the 1930s.  It is about widows.  Indians believe that once you are a widow,  you are forced to reside among other widows.  You are now worthless.  The only other option is to die with your husband or if the family allows, marry the brother of your dead husband.  Gandhi tried to change these old traditions but unfortunately they still exist today.

An 8 year old girl becomes a widow.  She doesn’t even remember being married.  Her husband dies and her father leaves her at the "widow house".  The movie is slow but the crescendo is powerful.  How can an 8 year old girl spend the rest of her life having no life? 

Beautifully shot.  The Ganges is such a central part of their lives.  Bathing, holy water, using for food, etc.  There are a variety of characters that intertwine with the widows which gives the viewer much better insight into their world. 

As our country is pushing Democracy on the world it is so interesting to see a movie about a completely different culture.  It is eye opening.  We can’t even relate to the beliefs and world that they live in.  Although the movie focuses on the lives of a group of widows, the big picture is really what life was and still is in parts of  India.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Kevin Walsh

    >>>As our country is pushing Democracy on the world<<<< It would be good if people would accept it.

  2. Jim Fobes

    I often wonder whether the large number of Indians working in America and experiencing our way of life, and our high standard of living will become a dynamic force of change if they return to India. this is what’s happened in parts of Mexico and other portions of Central America when nationals return to their homeland. Perhaps the most important export of “Estados Unidos” is showing people that hard work and simple caring can break down old patterns and bring positive change. The most important thing that illegals do is send something like $14 billion a year that goes for things like basic housing, running water, improved household sanitation and the education of the childreen past the 8th grade and through college. the number of Central Americans currently enrolled at the two Cal Poly campuses here in CA has doubled in the last five years. Their tuition largely paid for by migrants who experienced this country, returned home and helped their children get student visas and enrollments at Polytechnic Colleges that offer degrees in municipal management and related engineering disciplines and in agricultural management and sciences. It’s the education and the experience that’s the important export in this case.
    I love your blog, Joanne.

    Jim Forbes
    en Escondido, CA, el norte

  3. Raj Bala

    I haven’t seen “Water” yet, but I have seen “Fire.” It does challenge the social taboo of homosexuality in India, but in the end it’s too predictable and gimmicky to make for an intelligent film in my opinion. I still want to see “Earth” though.

    Not all Indians believe in such inhumane circumstances surrounding the treatment of windows. 8 year old girls might get married in rural areas of India, but then again — some very unusual things happen in rural areas of America as well. I was raised in the American South — I know.

    “We can’t even relate to the beliefs and world that they live in.”

    Personally, I think you would have more in common with a professional living in Bombay than you would with someone living in Anytown, USA.

    Indians and Americans are alike in many ways. They value democracy, education and health of their children, freedom of religion, womens rights, free press, free markets, and entrepreneurship.

    I’m here in India now and I can see a change from when I was here just 1 1/2 years ago. Technology is changing the face of this society in massive ways. In addition, American pop culture, for better or worse, has invaded in a major way.

    But India still has a far way to go. Does the widow thing happen? Sure, but it’s not a widely held belief nor is it practised outside of rural areas. It’s an issue of education.

    The greater problem is far worse than the situation with widows in my opinion. The environment in India is its Achilles heel. They must make massive behavior changes to improve the situation soon. Hopefully, education in one area of society can spread to others.