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The film, Water, open with the image of a young widow; one too young to comprehend what the news imply. Churyia is the main character used to bring out the marital practices of the day. Widow re-marriages were both illegal according to the Hindu Laws and also taboo. The widows were to live as beggars, in dire poverty and worship God; hence they are clean-shaven and deposited in the ashrams where they are to spend their lives. The ashram consists of dilapidated and squeezed two-story house.
Various characters emerge with different personalities but often undergoing similar problems. For instance, there is the seven year-old naive Churyia who has to live with the rest of the widows such as Kalyani and the temperamental Shankutala. Shankutala exudes such wit and anger that even Madhumati, the lady ruler of ashram, fears nagging her and totally leaves her alone. However, she comes out as a rather humane person when she gets attached to Churyia, and strives to provide everything that she personally got deprived off at such a tender age. Despite the misery surrounding the widows, young and beautiful Kalyani is full of life and is brave enough to break the law by agreeing to marry Narayan to whom she has had an attraction for quite a long time. The plan ends when Churyia innocence, leaks it to Madhumati as she gives her a massage one evening.
The image of Shankutala holding young Churyia on the day she gets defiled by Madhumati’s client is one that is hard to erase. Churyia is clearly in trauma and is barely able to talk whilst pain decorates Shankutala’s face as she empathizes with her; just like a real mother would do. The sound of whispering water can be heard in the background almost humming a song to comfort the two. However, as the movie opens up, there is the disturbing strong sitar music playing in the background, possibly aimed at giving the scene a mood of things starting to go haywire.
Churyia is a source of livid attention from the fellow widows since the day she set foot in the ashram. Shankutala is the one evidently most moved by her. At the end, of this harrowing movie, we can see Shankula’s transformation from the bitter lady to caring and loving; traits she portrays as she hands Churyia to Naraya. This transformation can largely be attributed to Churyia.
The film even in comparison to other films reviewed in the course, possesses an immense poetical nature but is also pretty rich and complex at the same time. This is evident through the disturbing state of India during those early days that the movie depicts. The harrowing narrative bears a perceptive and superb structure.