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A small take away restaurant run by Ashok and his wife Radha in New Delhi is the setting for this story of the new clashing with the old, both in cultural and human terms. Grandma Biji is also there, playing a silent Greek chorus role. The tensions between traditional extended families and the nudge of western culture that is evident throughout India is echoed here. Ashok has embraced a religious cult that demands celibacy. In something of an arranged marriage, Ashok’s brother Jatin takes Sita for his bride, while maintaining his love for a Chinese mistress. Neither of the marriages, both under one roof, are faring well, and when Sati begins to open doors of caring and sensuality for Radha, their worlds begin to change - as does Ashok’s and Jati’s. Questions of traditional sexuality, duty and honour are all ripped asunder to trigger new beginnings and old endings.

"Deepa Mehta presents a bewitching glimpse of a world of contrasts: traditional India with its customs and traditions, modern India which questions the absolute devotion demanded in the family unit; spiritual India with its legends and folk lore. The juxtaposition of story with legend, and how life is at one with the spiritual, is woven together effortlessly. The exploration of the extended family and the yearning for freedom is cleverly integrated. The story canvasses desire - repressed, unfulfilled and satisfied. Radha has curbed her desires; her husband Ashok has taken a vow of celibacy, but tests himself out with her now and then. Sita is opening up to her desires, and rejected by her husband Jatin who is obsessed with his Chinese mistress, finds solace with Radha. Mundu, the servant gets off on X-rated videos, which Ashok’s crippled mother Biji watches. This is a beautifully crafted film with mesmerising images and well developed characters. Shabana Azmi is stunning as Rahda. Her initial serenity becomes disturbed as she allows herself to discover desire. The exploration of her relationship with beautiful Nandita Das (Sita) is handled sensitively, as are all the relationships in the film. The analogy of how woman is pure if she can walk through fire is portrayed in a way that haunts. The film provides much food for thought and leaves us with many issues for contemplation."
Louise Keller

"If you go to the cinema to be stirred and shaken, go to see Fire. The emotional ride is wild, the images are stunning and Deepa Metha’s script is painfully accurate about the human condition. India may be the setting, but the human heart is the domain. The film cogently combines the personal issues with the social ones, the specific Indian cultural aspects with the global human ones so effortlessly, so affectingly as to elicit a cry of joy for filmmaking. And for sensuality. Rich and rewarding, Fire is a jewel."
Andrew L. Urban

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CAST: Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das, Kulbushan Kharbanda, Jaaved Jaaferi, Ranjit Chowdhry and Kushal Rekhi

PRODUCER: Bobbi Bedi, Deepa Mehta

DIRECTOR: Deepa Mehta

SCRIPT: Deepa Mehta


EDITOR: Barry Farrell

MUSIC: A.R. Rahman


RUNNING TIME: 104 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 14, 1997 (Sydney);
September tba (Other States)

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