Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Movie Review - Water

Water... the recent nomination for the Oscar.... (Not the Indian nomination) is one of the worst movies of all times top have been given that honour.

Now that I have got your attention, let me tell you why I think so. I hope you already know what Water is all about. If not,... it is about a group of widows who live in penury and out of just the alms from the people of Varanasi. Their travails and tribulations.... etc...

1. The first thing that irked me was the invocation of the movie with some outdated text from Manu Smriti. It outlines how women were meant to be treated in a disresctful and unimportant way in Hinduism. That is not the case. The Manu Smriti actually holds most women in very high esteem as seen from these quotes from Wikipedia.

2. The biggest misconception among people was the the Manu Smriti was the all important Hindu law book. This is actually not the case and that idea about the Manu Smriti was propounded by the western writers to demean the Hindus (Check out guys like Dalrymple). The common man does not invoke the Manu Smriti to justify his wrong doings... as shown in the movie. The Manu Smriti also, often and regularly contradicts the Vedas blatantly in every aspect of society including the treatment of women.

3. Terrible casting with John Abraham and Lisa Ray playing a Calcutta returned writer and a young widow respectively. They could not have been more out of the place in the movie... John Abraham looked like he was modelling for a hair gel and Lisa ray... I had last seen her in those Bombay Dyeing ads.. now she is modelling for wet Khadi. Neither could act... and neither could pass of as their respective characters. The kid widow had the best performance followed by that of the parrot.

4. In one scene in the movie, the dialogue by Kulbushan Kharbanda's character where he keeps saying women are supposed to be only of service to men and once they lose their status as 'wives' they have to be sidelined to the fringes of the society. WRONG !!! Indian vedic texts even talks about widow remarraige and the acceptance of a remarried widow into mainstream society. Also, there are specific guidelines on treating widows with respect. It is stupid to then quote the Manu Smriti out of context at the beginning of the movie and go on to talk about the plight of widows in India. It is like any one of us quoting a popular book such as "The Da Vinci code" to make a movie about Jesus 1000 years from now and call Jesus a philandering SOB. (I am not equating Manu Smriti to Da Vinci code now... but i hope you get the idea).

5. The problem lay ONLY with the people who changed the law and found loop holes and NOT with the entire Hindu law itself, as the director would like us to believe. That is the biggest flaw in the movie and which incensed the Indian government to ban the movie in India. It had identified bad propaganda and veered away from it for the public good. Completely justified in banning the movie.

What did the movie achieve? Yes Indian society has been backward as every other society had been. This particular case of widow treatment is the most often used theme in Hindu bashing. This movie puts it that idea on the big screen... and does not even attempt at providing strong arguments for its claim of the entire society being unequal. (There was abolutely no necessity to invoke the Manu Smriti... it could have just been a normal movie about the plightof a few women in Varanasi).

The very idea of using a 7 year old poor kid as a poster child for Hindu bashing reeks of cheesiness. The cliched screenplay with each ecene completely predictale and in the lines of erstwhile exploitation movies. Bad casting made the screenplay worse. The characters could not carry their roles at all.

The good aspect was ofcourse the music by Rahman. The man delivers even in the worst movies. The child widow's acting was interesting... and the innocence has been exploited to 'pull at our heart strings...'. The movie was shot in Sri Lanka... the rain and the lush greenery was appealing to the eye.

I am seriously not sure why this movie has been nominated to the Oscars. Seriously I do not know.

Note: I just read through all the reviews abotu the movie by the informed western media !!!! They have said this movie is a 'gentle prod at the sensitivities of entire India to stop such cruel practices in thename of religion' WHAT !!!! The DVD version of the movie that I watched did not have this. Apparently the director has said "Such practices still happen in India to date"...

THEN I HAVE ONE QUESTION TO AS HER... Why pray did she base this movie in the 1930s???? Just for Mahatma Gandhi to come by and give a solution to the problem at the end ???? What a whore this director is !!!!

If she is sure such practices are still rampant in India.. she could have done a contemporary movie based in Bombay... like she did in Fire. This movie is blatantly anti-hindu. The Indian government was completely justified in banning the movie in India.


Migrating Thoughts - Ramblings of a Mind said...


I havent seen this movie yet, so cant comment on ur "review". But i did want to see wat the movie was about since too many ppl here are raving abt it. Now that i read ur review, doesnt look like something to rave about. But i def need to see it for sake of the flaws.


Escape.... Great Escape said...

Hi... thanks.. yes.. it would not be a 'review'.. more like a rant. Anyway some of what I said would be valid inspite of the total usntructured way... The kid WAS a poster child... and it would be interesting if Deepa Mehta stops with the Hindu bashing in the name of secularism. Maybe she can be more secular in selecting which religion she wants to bash from her next movie onwards. I felt there were many other movies that were more decent in Hindu Bashing like Mr and Mrs Iyer than this excuse for a movie.

SP was telling me about your new job.. all the best with it. :-).

Ganesh said...

>>The Indian government was completely justified in banning the movie in India.

This movie was banned in India?? That's a news to me.

Escape.... Great Escape said...

Yes. It was banned in India. Now they are reconsidering the ban. They migth lift it and we will all get to see the idiocy.

That was why it was Canada's entrant... to the Oscars.

Lakshman said...

Well, I haven't seen this movie but I do understand from your review that the movie does a lot of Hindu bashing...You ought to put your review in the IMDB website...people have been praising the movie there! I would really appreciate if you could do this, or pls give me the rights to copy paste this review in your name!