(Canada, 2005, 116 minutes)

In 1938 India, an eight-year old widow is sent to an ashram that survives by having the most beautiful of the widows there sell her body as a prostitute. Lavishly shot melodrama that questions the validity of age-old Indian customs; while a life-affirming, worthy enterprise, the plotting is generally very stilted and the general elegance and style seem somewhat at odds with the bleak storyline. The third film in Indian writer/director Deepa Mehta's "elemental trilogy" after Fire and Earth, the film’s subject matter caused such controversy in India that the production was forced to transfer the shoot to Sri Lanka after the sets were torched and threats were made on her life.

A Celluloid Dreams presentation. Mongrel Media presents, in association with Telefilm Canada, Noble Nomad Pictures and Echo Lake Productions, a David Hamilton/Hamilton Mehta production, produced with the participation of Telefilm Canada, The Movie Network, Super Écran, Astral Media/The Harold Greenberg Fund and Canadian Television Fund, in association with Chum Television, Movie Central and Corus Entertainment. Starring Seema Biswas, Lisa Ray, John Abraham; and introducing Sarala. Directed and written by Deepa Mehta; produced by David Hamilton; music by Mychael Danna; songs composed by A. R. Rahman, with lyrics by Sukhwinder Singh; director of photography, Giles Nuttgens; production designer, Dilip Mehta; costume designer, Dolly Ahluwallia; film editor, Colin Monie.


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