Set against the tumultuous backdrop of India in 1938, this poignant drama follows the life of an 8 year old girl. Shockingly, this innocent child who barely even remembers her wedding and has little comprehension of her marriage, has just been widowed. Required by ancient Hindu laws to now leave society, she is brought to a dilapidated widow house or ashram where, according to custom, her hair will be shorn, her clothes exchanged for white robes and the rest of her life, until her death, will be spent in renunciation.
However the feisty, precocious, disbelieving Chuyia (Sarala) soon turns the house upside down with her rebellious spark. She begins to have a profound affect on the other women who live there, in particular the devout Shakuntala (Seema Biswas) and the beautiful Kalyani (Lisa Ray) who has been forced into prostitution by the domineering head widow, Madhumati (Manorama).
It is Chuyia who leads Kalyani to meet the alluring law student and Gandhi nationalist Narayan (John Abraham), with whom Kalyani falls in love, despite the taboos. What happens next - an attempt at escape fueled by passion and bravery -- will change Chuyia forever and bring both tragedy and an unexpected ray of hope to the widow house.
Did you know?
American filmmaker George Lucas took out a full-page ad in "Variety" to support Deepa Mehta in her struggle to make this film when Indian authorities made clear their intentions to shut the production down. Read More