Varanasi, India, in 1938. Mahatma Gandhi’s progressive ideology begins to spread across the country and fuels the Indian people’s desire to liberate themselves from the British rule. When her elderly husband dies soon after their marriage, eight-year-old Chuyia is sent to live in an ashram, where women are forced to live in renunciation under the Hindu law. Through the story of three women—Chuyia, Kalyani, who falls in love with progressive thinker Narayan, and the middle-aged widow Shakuntala—Water points out the structural contradictions in the Indian society.In India, religious, class, and ethnic identities are maintained and strengthened by subjugating women to strict sexual and gender roles. Therefore revealing the oppression faced by the women of low social classes is an act of exposing the contradictions of religion, class, and ethnicity in Indian society, and Water poses fundamental questions about these contradictions. The filming of this movie in Varnasi had to be stopped as soon as it began, due to threats and terror attacks by Hindu fundamentalists, and it was only completed in Sri Lanka five years later. The final installment in Deepa MEHTA’s ′Elements′ trilogy. (HONG So-in)
Deepa MEHTA started her career in the 1970s. Her emotionally resonating, award-winning films have played at many major film festival around the world. Her films include the Elemental Trilogy: Earth, Fire, Water, the final film of which received an Oscar nomination for the Best Foreign Language film. Her work challenges traditions and stereotypes and is always daring, fearless and provocative. Mehta recently shot the pilot and second episode for the Netflix Original series, Leila, and is the Creative Executive Producer for the show. She also directed Kabir, an episode of Little America for Apple TV.