“Water” A Film

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RewNn2r2P3g   index_06[1]   “Water” is a 2005 Canadian film directed by Deepa Mehta and chronicles the lives of widows in India at an ashram in Veranasi.  The story  begins with a eight year old child is widowed and  moved into  the ashram.


“Water” is the third and final installment of Mehta’s  “Elements Trilogy”  all with controversial topics  such as single gender love, and friendship between people of various religions. Mehta never preaches, but just tells her story for the audience to see and learn from ,if they desire.  The film received much acclaim in the Western world, but not in Inida.  The conservative Hindus who follow the ancient religious law felt that widows of all ages have three choices:

1. Marry the younger brother of her deceased husband.

2.  Throw herself on her husband’s funeral pyre. ( This  practice is against the law in India.)

3.  Live a holy and secluded  life in an ashram with other widows.

The film was to be shot in Varanasi, making this a follow-up of my post yesterday. But in this holiest of Hindu cities, Mehta was met with violent resistance.  The night before the beginning of filming, the equipment and set were destroyed and dumped into the Ganges.    The filming was put on hold for several years and then moved to Bangladesh to film this  story near to her heart.  The setting doesn’t resemble the ghats on the Ganges in Varanasi, which you will recognized from the post yesterday, and there are no palm trees  in Varanasi.


None the less, the story was told. Deep Mehta shown light on this ancient practice which needed to be change. In the film,  the obvious question of “why?” is answered.  The widow is reduced to “another mouth to feed” in a country of great poverty.  It is a jolting, though, in a country that outwardly  honors elders  to discover that widows are excluded. . . . . . . .

Ashram is traditionally a spiritual monastery in Hindi. Today it has been expanded to a place for art, yoga, and or martial arts.

download (5)


The beautiful young widow is forced into prostitution to help feed the other widows. She is allowed to keep her long hair.

water_movie_john_1359This is the idealist follower of Gandhi who wants to help the widows. There is a surprise cameo appearance at the end of the film !  Can’t tell who. . . . . .

Film should be available on Netflix along with “Earth” and “Fire.”


About annetbell

I am a retired elementary teacher, well seasoned world traveler,new blogger, grandmother, and a new enthusiastic discoverer of the wonderfully complex country of India. Anne
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25 Responses to “Water” A Film

  1. I saw the film ..very well made … I won’t say it’s happening today … But in a male dominated country a widow is still looked n treated differently .. It’s somehow considered to be a woman’s fault if her husband dies .. Like her misdeeds of the past life or this took away the life of her husband. Society still expects a wife to “obey” her husband without question. But yes, the story in the film is also true for a certain sections … Even to this date


    • annetbell says:

      Oh thank you for taking time to comment. When I was in Varanasi, I did see women dressed in white, who were begging. We assumed they were widows . India is changing with the death penalty to protect women from rape, and I am assuming this tradition of putting widows out. The film is set in 1938 so naturally as time passes, changes happen. It is a beautiful film. Mehta is a gentle storyteller with a beautiful eye. Have you seen “Whale Rider?” It is a wonderful film about culture and women’s place in it. This time , it is about a 12 year girl.


  2. YellowCable says:

    Sounds like a very interesting movie to watch.. Thank you for sharing!


  3. Debra Beilke says:

    Thanks for the recommendation! I ordered it on Netflix.


  4. Pingback: India’s Invisible Women | TalesAlongTheWay

  5. Tara Eaton says:

    Greeat reading your blog post


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