“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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24 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.

      • Actually I haven’t .. I’ll add the movie to must “must see” list!
        Yes, widows wear whites, usually no head shaving anymore .. But nowadays in the city a widow will wear normal clothes but her wrists are without bangles unless some celebration , but it’s called “sooni kahlai” [soon-ee ka’ha’lie] .. Empty wrists .. You must have noticed some women wear “sindoor” [sin-du-ur] , a red powder on their forehead into the hair , it’s sign of a married woman …

      • annetbell says:

        Yes, we saw that. Do you mind me asking where you live? We traveled pretty extensively throughout India.
        We loved it . . . .especially the people. . . . .warts and all !

      • Now I in USA, but my father was an army officer so I have travelled all over the country .. Plus I also travelled in college 🙂

      • annetbell says:

        I am assuming you are Indian. . . oh never loose your connection with incredible India…what history, and culture you have….and oh yes…architecture. I feel blessed to have been there for 4 months!

      • Oh no .. Actually coming to USA has made me appreciate and embrace the real Indian culture within myself and India , I suppose that’s the only connection that I have with my past and my identity … I just don’t admire the incorrect use of the term “western influence” that the youth in India is using to brush off the original culture

      • annetbell says:

        We saw that in Italy, too., another country with a strong culture. Very sad… How many Indian languages do you speak? Try to keep them, by speaking at home. It is the “things” that are so seductive for the youth and ultimately they don’t make anyone truly happy!

      • That’s true .. I speak 3 Indian languages and we speak at home too

      • annetbell says:

        I am a retired elementary teacher and I was always happy to see large school groups visiting site in India to educate students of their rich cultural history……Modera Sun Temple, step-wells in Ahmadabad. . . . we were living in Ahmadabad for the professor and students to be at Cept University.

      • Oh ok .. Got it …!! Sorry dear , making lunch . Gotta run .. Can I catch ya later ..

      • annetbell says:

        Have you seen “The Lunchbox?”

      • annetbell says:

        It is wonderful. I wrote a post on it that you can read if you like. We are taking the grand-babies to see “The Million Dollar Arm ” this weekend !

      • I believe it’s a good film!

      • annetbell says:

        I thought so too . As best I can tell it is a true but sensitive and hopeful presentation .

      • annetbell says:

        Are we talking about Water or Lunchbox?

      • Million dollar arm .. Water I already saw

      • Making kadhai chicken for my 5 ur old son … Can’t go wrong else he will kill me :)) he loves chicken !

  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

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