Fire by Deepa Mehta

One of my favorite movies is “Fire” is directed by a woman, Deepa Mehta. The movie revolves around two women that are married to brothers. They both experience oppression through their husbands and the norms of their culture. Both woman realize how alike their life is and slowly get closer and closer to each other and in the end they become lovers. Watching that movie reminded me of Adrienne Rich’s “Heterosexuality & Lesbian Experience” and the characteristics of male power. The woman in this film are being oppressed by their husbands on the daily basis. Sita is in an arranged married where her husband constantly cheats on her and Radha’s husband is extremely religious who suppresses desire. The culture that the woman are in requires you to worship your husband and never go against him or anything that he believes in. As well as their religion completely forbad them for cheating on their husband even less to love each other. But in the end they could not stop their desires and finally caved. In the characteristics of male power there are two themes that I clearly saw in the movie which is “to deny women sexuality” and “to use them as objects in male transactions”. When Sita was forced to be in an arranged marriage because that is what her family wanted for her showed how she was used as an object for a transaction for her family. And when the woman felt passion for each other they had been so clearly denied their sexuality they took a long time before even reacting to it. When being raised and being told that things will only be one way and any other way is wrong then your mind never even wonders there without thinking that they were sinning. But I really enjoyed how in the end of the movie they no longer cared about what anyone else thought about them they only cared about each other.

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4 comments

  1. Hi! Fire is also one of my favorite movies as well. Fire is the first movie in Bollywood that supports lesbianism and that is why this movie became controversial in India. This film also offers some of the best Bollywood music by A.R.Rahman. The road ahead for the two women was not an easy or smooth one. Fire also was the first trilogy of Films in India. Earth, the second in the series was realesded in 1998. And the third, Water, was realeased in 2005. This movie is a great example of what we are reading in class. I agree with you when you say the movies shows “use women as objects in male transactions”. Unfortunately, many women in India still go through this more than many other countries.

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  2. This sounds like a great movie, and I am going to find it, to watch. It is interesting how the women end up becoming lovers. It makes me wonder; was this a case of the available becoming the preferable, since the preferable was not available? Would the women have become lovers and discovered their lesbian sides if their husbands had been affectionate, and caring to them? Was their lesbianism a choice, or did they evolve that sexual orientation as a response to their unhappy, loveless marriages?
    I am not surprised to hear it was controversial in India, Outside the Western world, society is still pretty conservative and LGBT issues are very controversial. However, more people in these conservative societies are speaking up for LGBT rights; sometimes at great peril to themselves. It is refreshing that the women in the movie eventually throw all caution to the wind, cast aside their fears, and doubts to enjoy each loving each other. Good for them!

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  3. I do not know why but for some reason I thought that was their son not his brother. It was a good movie when I watched it. I was shocked on how the husband was behaving. I nearly screamed when he told his wife that you should be falling at my feet begging for my forgiveness. I thought he was insane at that moment. I think that men misunderstand women so many times and never really appreciate them until they are on the verge of losing that woman. Honestly it is a pity and I wish someone will one day clue men in with what women are really feeling or thinking.

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  4. I have never seen this movie but it does sound very interesting, to have a a movie go against the status quo really shows how much progress we have made since the abashment of even having homosexual ideas. I read a little more about the movie and saw that this movie had caused outrage for certain groups because it went against a lot of beliefs and ideas about how the world is supposed to work. This movie came out in the mid 1990s, a point in time where homosexual ideas were not as vocal as they are now, but Fire as a step in the right direction and did open eyes of many where a movie about someone’s identity can cause someone to be upset. But what caused the outrage is the relationship between two women and not the man who went against his religious by cheating on his wife, it could be possible that mostly men protested against this movie.

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