Water poster


wogma rating: Watch but no rush (?)

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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Director: Deepa Mehta
Running time: 120 minutes
Genres: Social
More Movie Info

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

20 reviewers(?) - 15 yays 2 so-so 3 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Aparajita Ghosh, Apun Ka Choice : ...Even John Abraham is more expressive than he normally is in Bollywood movies... full review

Thumbs up, by Judy Silva, Bollyvista.com : ...It's a film that is not to be missed... full review

Thumbs up, by Sanjay Ram, Business of Cinema : ...See it not as a sermon; see it as a solemn urge to alert us of the hypocrisy that still prevails... full review

Thumbs up, by Manasi Paresh Kumar, Deccan Herald : ...The beauty of this movie is that it refrains from preaching and satisfies itself to being a narrative.... full review

Thumbs up, by Deep, Deep's Home : ...perfect from all point of view... full review

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Glamsham.com : ...They're all played by actors who know what needs to be done, and how to bridge that gap between delusional reality and illusional artistry... full review

Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM : ...The director handles the complex relationships with dexterity.... full review

Thumbs up, by Abhijit Mhamunkar, indya.com : ...Symbolizing the film's title, Deepa makes wonderful use of water during important moments in the film in the form of rain and river... full review

Thumbs up, by Murphy, Murphy's Movie Reviews : ...Mehta has directed one of the most moving films of the year... full review

Thumbs up, by GaRaM, Now Running.com : ...Deepa Mehta's well-etched screenplay and strongly defined characters makes you live every scene, every moment in the film.... full review

Thumbs up, by Ron Ahluwalia, Planet Bollywood : ...This is the perfect end to what could be called the perfect trilogy... full review

Thumbs up, by Sonia Chopra, SantaBanta.com : ...It’s masterful how director Deepa Mehta manages to dwell on all these stories within stories, entwining them into one.... full review

Thumbs up, SearchIndia.com : ...We tried hard to find flaws in Water but drew a blank... full review

Thumbs up, by Pankaj Shukla, SmasHits.com : ...'Water' can boast of some of the very brilliant technical aspects as well.... full review

Thumbs up, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ... It's completely low key, restrained, almost elegant in grief and pathos.... full review

So-So, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...It's clearly a film that's pandering to the West, serving up a romanticised, exoticised India... full review

So-So, by Naomi Datta, Times Now : ... this is an efficient film, but not a particularly riveting film.... full review

Thumbs down, by Tasha Robinson, A. V. Club : ...their romance is unthinkable. Still, it proceeds so smoothly and blandly that it never becomes personal or engaging... full review

Thumbs down, by Owen Gleiberman, EW.com : ...movie takes the form of a lackluster women's-prison picture... full review

Thumbs down, by Asmit, Passion for Cinema : ...I find myself hanging In an empty fireball Is this what they think Is dark, handsome and tall?... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

2 readers - 1 yays 0 so-so 1 nays

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Nay! Thumbs Down, by HVAC North Las Vegas

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Plot Summary

Chuyia (Sarala) is widowed and as is custom, sent to a widow ashram by her parents. The movie then goes on to narrate how each of the other widows she meets want to be liberated in their own way.

Water - Cast, crew, links

Official Sites:
Background Score:
Action Choreography:
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Running time:
120 minutes

Comments (1)

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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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