Sunday, December 18, 2005

Fire

After two movies, Bollywood/Hollywood and, before I started watching Indian movies but long after having started watching Canadian ones, The Republic of Love, I am neither here nor there about Deepa Mehta. What's most interesting about Fire to me is that many, many people were either very here or very there - sometimes violently so - about it. Especially, according to her commentary, middle-aged men in India, who went wild at the possibility that the idea this movie depicted - that women dare to claim space and choices for themselves - might upset the institution of marriage.

This was an uncomfortable story for me because with each passing heartbreak and disappointment I thought "I'm so glad that's not my life" - about all the characters, not just Rhada and Sita. Everyone in this movie is trapped at some point. Despite being a sensible girl, my life has been mostly free of required responsibilities - maybe a few I've chosen, like a job and a house - and it's interesting to consider what life would be like with them, whether a push-button response to tradition, like Sita, or a vow to someone whom I no longer understand, like Rhada. The relief came in readjusting their requirements because something within compelled them - and I felt that relief with them. Maybe not a typically Bollywood-type happy ending, but one that offered release.

Not being loved when you need to might be one of the great human tragedies, especially when contrasted with our great capacity to love when we are so moved.

5 comments:

Obi Wan said...

I haven't seen Fire, but watched her Earth. It was very good, you must watch it whenever you get the opportunity. Even Water has got decent international reviews, though it hasn't been released in India yet.

the Monk said...

Fire was agood movie...

Accidental Fame Junkie said...

I was in College when "Fire" was released in the theatres here. I went with two friends to watch it in a really dark and dank theatre. There is one line from the movie that stands our in my head: "Duty is overrated."

call me tapan said...

well i watched fire in tv and its a good movie . but the story is a closed one. it try to tell the truth how inequlity is ther in every sphere of life in india . but now things are changing and even the health minister is talking abt allowing lesbian nd gay people rights. well many are still agaisnt it but a lot of urban people are getting familiar with it. but for an average indian its just silly. i dont understand it and will never .but there should be freedom. dont you think so?

Beth said...

AFJ - I am years late in responding to this on the blog, but it's so interesting that you point out that quote and that I'm reading it right now (October of 2008) because I just watched Kalyug and have been pondering "duty" quite a bit :)

tapan - It's absolutely necessary to have those kinds of freedoms (and many others) - especially for what one does not understand. It's hard to hold those two things at the same time, but it's critical for decent humanity. Glad you brought it up!