Water is one of those films that leave you silent. Too full, too emptied out, you don't want to talk about it till much later when you've put things together. You don't want to discuss the film with people lest it takes away from your experience of watching it.
That's what it did to me.
And sitting through the redits made full sense. It gave e time to internalize, tie up the bundle, and get ready to leave the dark hall.
It's a sliver from sometime in 1938 India, a different era, carefully reconstructed in Sri Lanka. From the first shot of little Chuyia swinging her feet on the bullock cart, to the last one of 'Didi' looking forlorn after handing Chuyia over to the truth seeking and worshipping brigade with Gandhi, the film was resonant of a fleeting cool breeze. The performances by Seema Biswas and little Sarala are stellar, nothing short of that.
Little Chuyia is widowed at a very young age when she doesn't even know who her husband is, and sent off to live in an ashram meant for widows. Her hair shorn off, she roams around in wraps of white, the look in her eyes one of confusion and sadness for her childhood pleasures being taken away. She cries little though.
I'm not going to write about the story.
This is only about how it affected me.
The play of light and shadow is brilliant. I clearly remember some shots, so stark, they had the word 'indelible' written across them. I wonder how the film would've looked had it been actually shot in Banaras. Would it have been excruciatingly beautiful? Or would it have been much too grand?
The film does not end in a heightened climax. It ends with a thud you don't want to hear. You say no no please no....nevertheless, it happens. Leaves you speechless.
Water is a film to be carried around in your shirt's left pocket - close to your heart.