In pre Ghandi era india, before and during the rule of The British Raj, if a woman was widowed she had three choices.. she could throw herself on her husband’s funeral pyre… she could marry the younger brother of her husband or she could retreat from life altogether, shave her head and live the life of a pyriah, an outcast, living in a community of forgotten women behind closed doors who are forced to beg for money and are denied even the most rudimentary pleasures in life. Water, the third and final film in director Deepa Mehta’s elemental trilogy, is the story of Chuyia who is widowed by the man she was arranged to marry when she was but 5 years old. She is left by her family in the care of the women in the widow’s ashram where women are sent to expiate their negative karma that the Hindu’s believed were the cause of their husband’s death. This is a powerful and sometimes poignant look at the point where these very different women’s live have intersected and how they must find the strength to find love, laughter and endure.


The production of this film was halted twice due to protests, arson on the set and attempts made on the director’s life. It was meant to be shot in Viranasi ( although for safety reasons they had to shoot in a more secret location in Sri Lanka ), the most holy of cities built on the ghanges river. The element water is used throughout the film as a symbol of ritual, cleansing, healing and  absolution. The film is beautifully shot, and beautifully acted by Sarala Kariyawasam as Chuyia and Bollywood stars Lisa Ray and John Abraham and the soundtrack is absolutely breathtaking. An important film for all women to experience, it explores the ” elements ” that have bound us all from the beginning of time.

Water (2005) directed by Deepah Mehta, in Hindi with subtitles, some English

click here to watch the trailer for Water

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.