Monday, January 29, 2007

This vaahiyat movie called Water

On Water, the movie. At first, I thought I would type in something much more worthwhile than a low grade movie that passes for art. Like a discussion I had with a colleague about vi editor. Probably, :) I will do post that later.

But then this really made me wonder -

Now I do agree that widows were exploited. It existed then, it still might be. But how common is it, as compared to say, 1800-1890. We sure are not in favour of such practices.

The point about movies in India is that - you should not be uni-directional or obsessed with the topic. I dont think widow exploitation has been covered for the first time in Hindi movies. I dont watch much of them these days, but I do remember this topic being touched upon. But a movie made totally on widow exploitation !! And worse, it is a film made by a filmmaker with dubious credentials, so things dont help.

It tries to give an image where anyone looking to exploit widows must visit Varanasi. It is all about presentation. The movie tries to portray that this practice is widespread in India, when in reality it is not. The movie might be so unidimensional and obsessed with the topic of widows exploitation, that it sure would give that impression. Like I have watched Fire, it sure gave that kind of impression. That of a religious Hindu not interested in sex, and his wife making out with other women.

Coming back to the question of widow exploitation, I have seen and met many widows, some of them my friends' mothers, and well, they are respected in their respective families. Nor did my friends tell me about any such thing happening, when I asked them about it.

I also doubt if the practice was prevelent only in Varanasi. It might have existed at a lot other places. But why Varanasi as the center of the story. Just why Varanasi. Has it got something to do with the significance of the place? Would she make a movie on Islam and the abhorrent practices that they still follow? And shoot the movie in Jama Masjid Delhi or some makbara in Lucknow. No, I dont think so. She might portray the location to be anything else, say like Patna or Delhi or Agra or Jaipur. But no, she wont budge ! Is Varanasi your target, Deepa Mehta? Or maybe she would have chosen Sangam at Allahabad, Tirupati, Haridwar or Kanyakumari for her venture, going by her inclinations. Going by her actions, I have every reason to believe she wants controversy. Maybe I am wrong, but I tend to go by logic, facts and reasoning. Not emotional rhetoric and hot air. And her actions seem to suggest that she does not have good intentions.

I doubt Deepa Mehta's intentions. She has given us every reason to do so, right from Fire. For instance, we are ok with lesbianism on the screen, but why insist on the names of the characters as Radha and Sita. I watched the movie, and found it in bad taste. And for all her lying and crying, the names of the characters were Sita and Radha. I have also watched parts of Earth, and I wasnt interested enough.

Deepa Mehta's movies sound shrill. Its like she is shouting in our ears. No, its not social awakening, its plain downright irritating. The media might think that she is a great filmmaker, but I find her downright dull. Use some black and white scenes, filled with fog, naked poor kids with running noses frolicking in water, the mandatory snake charmers, and slow motion, and voila, you are a great (f)art film maker. Her movies are generally in bad taste. If she had put her message across much more tastefully and with much more sensitivity, I dont think she would have faced such opposition.

I admit I have not watched the movie. But going by all those news reports and reviews on TV, papers and the Internet, I know the basic plot and theme. I have commented on the facts that I am sure of, so dont ask me to watch the movie and then post. I am not reviewing the movie, I am talking about why this movie should be avoided. I would have shredded the movie to bits if I had seen it :-)


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March 01, 2007 2:35 AM  

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