Review - Water: Meaningful story fails to create impact

wogma rating: The keen should rent; else TV (?)
quick review:

A good plot and excellent acting gets marred by a not-so-tight script. The interdependecies between the characters are not sketched out in detail. And overall, the movie does not make an impact.

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The mere sound of the phrase “plight of widows”, grips your heart. Is it then, that difficult to make a movie on this issue, which stirs you from the inside? Looks like it is. Water, leaves you feeling cheated because you are still waiting for a punch, a hard hit on your sensibilities, even after the movie is done.

The movie starts with a bang. The opening sequence makes your heart go out for little Chuyia (Sarala), the 7-8 year old widow. But, the narrative begins to fizzle out after the first ten minutes and never regains the impact. And the climax seemed very illogical. The only other touching moment comes when the lead pair has its first romantic rendezvous. Though not magical, it is very sweet.

However, you have to give it points for not being preachy or whiny. It just tells a story, and lets the audience answer the unasked question, "Is this the way it should be?"

This movie is worth watching for its performances. Widows of different age groups having varied temperaments, have been portrayed really well. You can almost see how the younger one can be the one in the next age group when she grows older.

Sarala makes you feel for her innocent but rebellious attitude. Lisa Ray, the teen widow, wants to be saved from her loveless life in the widow asylum. Seema Biswas, plays to perfection, the role of a widow in her late 30s who has resigned to her fate, but still understands the desires of the younger widows. You can see the strength she gives them despite her internal struggle to stick to her faith, in both her expressions and her body language.

Manorama, plays the classic pain-in-the-wrong-place-opportunist. Her double standards dare you to defy her. You know she has done her job well, when you feel like giving her one tight slap right across the face! Vidula Javalgekar plays a minor role of a widow (called aunty by the other widows) who is approaching the end of her life. Her mannerisms and love for food reminds you of Chunibala devi who played a very similar role in Pather Panchali.

The problem is that though the individual characterization and performances don’t disappoint, most of the relationships between the individuals is underdeveloped…certainly wanting of more chemistry. Be it the relationship between Narayan (John Abraham) and Kalyani (Lisa) or Madhumati (Manorama) and Chuyia (Sarala), it was difficult to understand the motivations. E.g., Why did Narayan like Kalyani? The movie did not show any reason for Chuyia to obey Madhumati.

The beginning makes you squirm and feel “oh boy! I am really going to be depressed at the end of this movie”. But, fortunately or unfortunately, that does not happen.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Water - Movie Details

Water - Trailer

Comments (1)

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meetu:

Thank you, Makarand! One of the main questions that I had at the end of the movie was, "Is it really that bad?", not from what I know or have seen. Is it really true that 34 million widows in India are treated the way it has been shown in the movie.

I have very intentionally left discussing the social aspect and the controversy out of my review. I feel the movie has received enough attention due to those causes. I chose to not contribute to the hype!

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