The Forgotten Woman (Mongrel, 2008) D: Dilip Mehta. Rating: NNN; DVD package: n/a
In the wake of Deepa Mehta's Water, a tale of the plight of widows in 1938 India, her brother, Dilip Mehta, went out to document conditions for India's widows today. A veteran photojournalist, he came back with beautiful images of landscapes and remarkable faces, and horrific stories.
Widows in India, at whatever age, are abandoned by their sons and cast out by their in-laws, who blame them for their husbands' death and steal inheritance, pension and children if they can. Destitute, some make their way to the handful of ashrams that specialize in widows.
There, for a rupee a day and some rice, they devote hours to religious chanting. Others live and die on the streets.
Canadian-born Ginny (Dobson) Shrivastava, has set up a widow's association, marshalling the power of numbers to combat centuries of traditional abuse. She claims 20,000 members. India has 45 million widows.
There isn't much of an overview here, no academic or government figures offering background and assurances. What assurances could there be?
EXTRAS Widescreen. English, French subtitles.