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by Caroline Marshall
Gimme Gimme Gimme
"I'm so sick of all this devotion. We can find choices" - Sita
The film explores the pressure of women to be pure and docile, undemanding and unquestioning of their husbands. It illustrates the choices for women in a society which has traditionally denied them.
The emotional and physical abuse of these characters by their husbands is something that has hardly been mentioned by this film's many harsh critics. Instead the film has been attacked for its lesbian content. In fact, anyone who watches the film will understand that the film is about women's choices, power and decisions. Perhaps these are the real issues that mainstream India appeared to have a problem with.
When 'Fire' was released in India, cinemas were violently attacked and posters torn down, leading the majority of cinemas to withdraw the film. Although Fire was passed uncut by the censors twice, Hindu fundamentalists spoke out against the homosexual content, saying it was not a part of their society's religion or customs and most of all should definitely not be tackled using Hindu characters.
The film also considers the ares of multiculturalism and interracial relationships, cross-dressing, pornography; all issues apparently evident in contemporary India but which have never been discussed or shown on film.
The film and its characters
Sita has left her home and family to live with a husband that she finds is in love with a woman he is still dating.
Both women, lonely and trapped in loveless marriages, turn to each other for comfort and friendship. They help each other to break away from their subordinate roles within the family to the point where they have no need for their husbands in any way, something that is very shocking within this traditional and patriarchal society.
"Sita says the concept of duty is overrated" - Radha to her husband Ashok
"I think you are a pompous fool" - Radha to her husband Jutin
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Page last modified: 02 December 2002