Aroview: The third and finest entry in dir. Deepa Mehta's 'Elements' trilogy (FIRE, EARTH) is an opulent depiction of the plight of a group of Hindu widows (ranging in age from young girls to elderly women) during the political unrest of late-1930s India who are forced by tradition to live in a decrepit ashram in Varanasi.
The story begins with an 8-year old bride being widowed and sent to a lifetime of poverty at the ashram, which is ruled over by a marijuana-smoking 'madam', who prostitutes out the most attractive of her charges. Twining together plotlines about thwarted love and the political ferment inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, dir. Mehta sensitively guides events through to a powerful finale.
Originally slated for production in 2000, the film's sets were attacked and burnt by religious fanatics; Mehta was only able to complete the filming in 2005 on secret locations in Sri Lanka.