Last night I watched the movie Water. I wish I had watched it on the big screen instead of my laptop, because the cinematography was breathtaking. The movie itself was magnificent. Set in the late thirties in India, it follows the story of Chuyia, a recently widowed seven-year-old. She is sent to an ashram, a home for widows, run by a dictatorial headmistress. Chuyia with her young spirit manages to cause a fair amount of disruption at the ashram. She befriends Kalayani, the only widow allowed to grow her hair long. Kalayani is sent across the river as a prostitute in order to make money for the ashram. Via Chuyia, Kalayani meets and falls in love with Narayan, a young Bhramin and follower of Ghandi.
I should know better, but I always pick out movies that are depressing or upsetting and then I’m shocked when I don’t see it coming. With this film, the subject matter is depressing in and of itself, but it has plenty of happy moments including dancing and a romantic sequence when Kalayani and Narayan meet for the first time. So, needless to say, I was not prepared for the end of the movie. The momentum of about the last twenty minutes was so strong. I just burst into tears and cried until the end. And, I cried again in the car this morning when I told my husband what happened. I couldn’t help myself. I don’t want to be misleading. I didn’t think the movie was depressing, it was just very emotional. Seema Biswas, who played one of the widows who helps Chuyia adjust to her new life, was amazing. It is hard to imagine such a strong female character stuck in a house of widows, but her performance was so powerful. She said more with a look than many actors can say with a sentence. Forgive my rambling, I haven’t seen many movies since my son was born.