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Water (2006)

Lisa Ray , John Abraham , Deepa Mehta  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Lisa Ray, John Abraham, Seema Biswas, Sarala Kariyawasam, Buddhi Wickrama
  • Directors: Deepa Mehta
  • Writers: Deepa Mehta, Anurag Kashyap
  • Producers: Ajay Virmani, Claire Welland, David Hamilton, Dilip Mehta, Doug Mankoff
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Hindi (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight
  • DVD Release Date: August 29, 2006
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000GIXE86
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,425 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Water" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Commentary by director Deepa Mehta
  • "The Story Behind the Making of Water" featurette
  • Behind-the-Scenes featurette

Editorial Reviews

Extremist groups waged a campaign of death threats, arson and riots to stop the production of this controversial film, but director Deepa Mehta would not be silenced. Set against Gandhi's rise to power, Water tells the profoundly moving story of Chuyia, an Indian girl married and widowed at eight years old, who is sent away to a home where Hindu widows must live in penitence. Chuyia's feisty presence deeply affects the other residents, forcing each to confront their faith and society's prejudices.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
169 of 173 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Social Conscious Film of Uncommon Beauty. September 5, 2006
Format:DVD
"Water" is the third film in writer/director Deepa Mehta's elemental trilogy, following "Fire" and "Earth". It explores the plight of widows in traditional Hindu culture, where women are condemned to a grim, rudimentary existence after their husbands die. Driven by characters as much as by its cause, this is not a bleak film. On the contrary, "Water" is breathtakingly beautiful. In India in 1938, young Chuyia (Sarala) is widowed at the age of 8. By religious law, when a man dies, his wife may either be cremated with him, marry his brother, or live the life of an ascetic -chaste, poor, and pious. Chuyia's head is shaved, her jewelry removed, and she is sent to live in an ashram with other widows of all ages. She is befriended by a pretty widow named Kalyani (Lisa Ray), watched over by the devout and generous Shakuntula (Seema Biswas), and often at odds with the ashram's callous matriarch Madhumati (Manorama), who pays the rent by prostituting Kalyani. A handsome law student with progressive politics, Narayan (John Abraham), is smitten by Kalyani. But it is sinful for widows to remarry, and Kalyani is a prostitute besides.

The story of making "Water" is a drama in itself. Filming in India in 2000 was shut down by violent protests by religious fundamentalists, who believed the film was anti-Hindu. Deepa Mehta's view is that a misinterpretation of religious texts has perpetuated the dreadful state of widows in Indian culture, which is actually the result of economics. If a widow is sent away upon the death of her husband, her own family does not have to pay to feed or house her, and her would-be inheritance remains in her husband's family. In any case, there were riots, Deepa Mehta was burned in effigy, and the film's sets were thrown into the river.
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Moving Portrait of Life in Rural India June 6, 2006
When I was in film school, I remember a professor showing an Indian film called "Panther Panchali". Despite the terrible print, I could see director Satyajit Ray was an artist. "Panchali" is a beautiful film about a poor Indian family living through the monsoon season. I then went on to discover some of his other films. A couple of years ago, Merchant Ivory hosted a retrospective of Ray's films and these restored prints are available on DVD. You are depriving yourself if you do not watch these films.

As I watched "Water", the new film from director Deepa Mehta, I was constantly reminded of Ray's films. The composition, pacing, subject matter and acting style are all the same.

Chuyia (Ronica Sajnani Sarala), a seven year old girl, finds she has become a widow; her arranged husband has died leaving her adrift in a society that favors men. Religious law dictates if she lives a chaste life she will join her husband in heaven. Of course, she doesn't know or understand any of this when her family takes her to a home, to live with other widows. She soon meets the matriarch of the house, Sadananda (Kulbhushan Kharbanda), a fat woman who eats the most food, Shakuntala (Seema Biswas), a bitter woman who shows some compassion to Chuyia and Kalyani (Lisa Ray), a young woman who is allowed to grow her hair out and meet `clients' to help support the house. Soon, Chuyia meets Narayana (John Abraham), a bachelor from a rich family who is instantly attracted to Kalyani. As their relationship grows, there are murmurs of Gandhi leading the Indian people to independence from Britain.

Deepa Mehta has crafted a beautiful film depicting a sad reality in India's history.
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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Widow's Peak May 9, 2006
Format:DVD
"Water" is a beautiful, tragic, sad, emotionally available film about the deplorable situation in India in regards to its many millions of widows: who are segregated into Ashrams, forced to beg in the street, some into prostitution to support the Ashram and are viewed as if not Untouchable...then unavailable for remarriage.

"Water" focuses on the beautiful very young, as in 9 years old, Chuyia (Sarala), Kalayani (Lisa Ray), both widows and Narayana (John Abraham): a young Ghandhi follower in love with Kalayani.

The time is 1938, India is in social, political and religious upheaval but director Deepa Mehta uses this as only a backdrop for her very personal and tragic story. At times, though her agenda is without a doubt important, Mehta's approach is too overwrought, too heavy-handed. But her film is so gorgeous and her mise en scene so much about the cleansing qualities of color: turquoises, lemon yellows, scarlet reds, lime greens...that most of this didactic quality can be forgiven.

Water can cleanse, Water can heal, Water brings forth life and renewal and "Water" is full of these images but it is also about Hope for the future and Redemption through the restorative power of Love.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Live life and be happy" August 30, 2006
By A Customer
Format:DVD
A film of jaw-jopping beauty and deeply held poetical lyricism, Deepa Mehta's spectacular Water - the final installment of her devastatingly beautiful Indian trilogy - is a film of overwhelming tragedy, a gorgeous homage to the country of her birth and a real testament to the resilience of her people's spirit.

Steeping her story in Indian spirituality, Mehta sets her atmospheric film in 1938 Colonial India during Gandhi's rise to power. Times are changing for this country that for so long now has only known British rule. New laws are being passed and the young - particularly the men - are gradually opening to the new ways and becoming more liberal minded.

Change, however, seems far from the young Chuyia (Sarala) when her father drops her at an ashram for widows. A child bride and married for economic reasons, her much older husband unexpectedly died. Now considered a financial burden by her family she is sent to a house where she is forced to live a life of rigorous penitence and is never allowed to remarry.

Here she meets the Madame of the house Madhumati (Manorma), a hugely fat and authoritarian woman in her mid-70s, who runs the house like a nazi, lauding it over all the other women. Of course, Chuyia has a hard time adjusting to this new life of singing religious hymns every day, wearing only white and begging on the streets for money.

People avoid them like the plague; many Hindus believe that if they bump into a widow, they will be polluted and must do rituals of purification. Chuyia doesn't really understand any of this, but she has a sharp tongue and her rebellious instincts upset the other widows who reside in this decrepit two-story dwelling built around a court and overlooking the river, most probably the Ganges.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
AMAZING :) :) :)
Published 3 days ago by Kelly D Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Such a powerful film!
Published 10 days ago by Maggie
5.0 out of 5 stars At least the character of Chuyia will have a chance at a better life...
Oh my! What can I say. At the end of the movie, I lost it and broke down in tears. At least the character of Chuyia will have a chance at a better life with Narayan possibly... Read more
Published 19 days ago by Shawanna
5.0 out of 5 stars See it
I super enjoyed this movie. Very good acting and the little girl was adorable turning everyone's established behavior upside down. Read more
Published 20 days ago by YAC
5.0 out of 5 stars A favorite film
Beautiful! The acting is superb and the director's female touch is evident in producing a very moving story. Read more
Published 29 days ago by NM
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent movie. Highly suggest it if you want to see a drama with touch of the truth.
Published 1 month ago by Fereshteh Abadi
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting
i lived in India on a student program for 6 months in the late 60's
and though aware about great inequalities never knew about the
plight of poor young widows. Read more
Published 4 months ago by indore
4.0 out of 5 stars Water was refreshing and informative
Those interested in other cultures and traditions. I felt like I had actually traveled back in time to India. The characters were well developed and the story line was moving.
Published 4 months ago by Rosalie Carlberg
5.0 out of 5 stars India revisited
Fabulous. I read the book by the Director/Producers daughter and the movie was not a disappointment. I have passed it along to many friends. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Susan M Dahl
5.0 out of 5 stars Some of the best of Indian filmmaking
I rented this film because I had seen Deepa Mehta's other two in the series, Fire and Earth, and was blown away by them. Water did not disappointment. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Patti
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