Cinema from the Subcontinent
Canada / 2005 / Hindi dialogue with English subtitles / Colour / 35 mm / 114 minutes
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The story is set against the epic backdrop of the river Ganges during Gandhi's rise to prominence. Chuyia is an eight-year-old child bride whose husband suddenly passes away. According to custom, her head is shaved and she is taken to an ashram for Hindu widows, where she is expected to atone for the sins of her past, which caused the death of her husband. It is a virtual exile, with no hope of escape. Some of the ashram inmates have accepted their fate, others are bitter. The indefatigable Chuyia is left to navigate this world and learn its lessons. Deepa Mehta's first attempt in early 2000 to film <I>Water </I>in India was repeatedly suspended because of fundamentalist protests. She completed the film five years later, with a new cast, shooting in Sri Lanka, and in September, <I>Water </I>had its world premiere as the opening gala film of the 2005 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival.



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