Social Sciences and Humanity Studies Academic Blog

Liberating the Widow of India- A film review of Water

Posted in My life by Shekhar on June 7, 2012

Liberating the Widow of India-

A film review of Water

 

The movie- Water isan genuine effort to uncover the social, economic and cultural deprivation faced by the widows of Pre-independent India of 1938 – the historic time when Mahatma Gandhi’s peace revolution for the Independence of India was on rise. The movie highlights how the few religious people had controlled the interpretation of the text of Vedas and used them in such a manner that favors only male or few elites and exploit the helpless like widows. The movie suggests that until there is external interference of Laws over religious rules, few people will always take negative advantages of weak and poor like women and old.

In the movie death and marriage rituals are ironically presented and practiced so as to favor only male and ruin the life of women. In the name of wrongly interpreted religious text, husband death would be followed by the isolation and deprivation of widows from the normal life and opportunities. Throughout the running time, Strong oppositional voices also echo from the widows for example through the words of Chuiya, but that would be suppressed and underestimated. People’s beliefs are rooted deeply in falsely interpreted religious texts such that even questioning over the injustice and inequality would be considered sinful act.

 

 

Deprivation in 1938 India

Though all widow characters are living the kind of life they shouldn’t be, they symbolize different aspect of the lifestyle and the kind of thinking prevalent in 1938 India. Chuiya, the 7 year old child widow though small age wise, the voice emerging out of her anger and childish innocence symbolizes the appeal for justice and fairness. Chuiya’s inability to count 108 times symbolizes the deprivation of women from education while Kalyani’s secret visit to rich Brahmin Landlords tells how widows are treated as prostitutes. Madhumati, the old widow who has major control in the widow house, symbolizes the ignorant woman who due to her ignorance couldn’t appeal for remarriage of herself and when her chances were gone, she prefer to ruin the life of all other widows. Her habit of smoking Mariwana and trading Kalyani’s flesh for money with landlords symbolized the cruelty prevalent within widows. The love story between Narayan and the young widow also speaks against the old and unfair traditional practices of keeping widow in extreme deprivation and directly supports remarriage of widows.

The kind of pets kept by those characters also suggest their evil and goodness for instance the small dog-Kaalu of Kalyani is free and nourished with love all the time while the parrot-Mithu of Madhumati-is subjected inside cage.

 

Fighting Against the deprivation

Hence, the story celebrates the superiority of human consciences over the religious beliefs. Gandhi’s acceptance of ‘truth as the god’ instead of ‘god as the truth’ in the movie clearly inspires the audience to go for ‘change’ rather than stick to old religious beliefs that has always kept poor and illiterate people like most of the widows as reflect in the movie. <Note that this book review was originally produced by Shekhar KC, kushekharkc@gmail.com>The movie has that potential to break the asymmetrical hierarchical relationship between men and women in the society that is deeply rooted in orthodox religious text- those texts that are controlled by few selfish people. The movie advocate for fairness, truth and equality in general and liberation of Indian widows from hardship and deprivation in particular. In addition, the movie asks for the interference of laws-that are changeable according to context rather than dominance of outdated religious practices.

2 Responses

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  1. Chandiraj Dahal said, on June 30, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Shekhar, well written and analyzed. I liked it. Even I had watched this movie. ..it is one of few movies I liked so much.

    • Shekharr said, on July 12, 2012 at 6:08 am

      Thank you Chandu. I feel great it caught you. Thank you for your compliments and encouragements.


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