Let’s start with two women who live more than 500 miles apart. They don’t know each other, and have never met. They have something in common, and that is that each of their husbands have taken jobs overseas. The husbands leave on the same day from their respective locations. Left behind are the wives who have to live with the memories of their last nights with those husbands for an indeterminate amount of time.
As beautiful as the above and below images are, the next day, one of these women looked at a bus pulling out of a lot, and the other watched a train leave a station. At the moment they knew nothing about the other, nor had they any idea that circumstances overseas would bring them together in the future.
In today’s world where our films are filled with violence, explosions, drugs, and corruption, where our films are technological marvels with special FX, 3D, CGI, Imax, and so forth – it is refreshing to watch a film that makes you think and feel. In the words of the director:
Every scene is filled with drama. If it is not the actors and the script, then it is the location. If not the location, then it is the camera angles, and if not that – it is the lighting.
Aren’t those marvelous words? And don’t you want to watch a film that makes your heart beat faster, not from action but from emotion. A film that makes you think, feel, and care – and does so without simply battering the senses?
The film is called Dor and it came out in 2006. One woman is called Meera. She’s played by Ayesha Takia (above as Meera and below as herself). Meera lives in a suburban compound near a large city with her husband’s family. She’s a traditional girl, and has fully accepted her role, as a married woman, that her community and religion have placed her in.
The other is an independent woman who lives alone, and supports herself as a teacher, and has married just prior (actually the day before) to her husband’s departure. She is based in the foothills of a mountainous region. She lives in what could be called a rustic cabin. She is in a difficult position as a daughter-in-law as she and her husband married without his parent’s approvals.
Her name is Zeenat, and she’s made the adjustment. Her in-laws and she get along fine, and though she maintains her own home – she gives all the money sent by husband to her in-laws. She is played by Gul Panag (above as Zeenat and below as herself).
It is a movie about relationships, a film that has at its core a story about having the courage to never give up, and as the film’s tag-line asks: How far would you go to save the one you love?
Without giving too much away – what happens is that one of these women will lose her husband and will then live a life without flavor, joy, color, or delight. She is plunged into a traditional widowhood – which makes her a near outcast, or said differently – a near slave to her deceased husband’s family.
The second woman needs to find this first woman in order to save her own husband. All she has to go by is a photo, and she nonetheless begins a long journey to a neighboring state in an attempt to track the woman down.
I shall not make any comments on the topics of the film which concern widowhood, service, and family traditions, and the religious and communal requirements concerning those things. The film doesn’t really take a definite position either beyond the hope that people should embrace humanity rather than clinging to the old or archaic ways. The film’s strengths are its positive outlook and the fact that there’s always hope – just ahead – if you keep going.
As touching and beautiful as this story is – it is also spectacular visually. The locations are all real and there’s very little of this film that was shot in a studio. The story is filled with willingness and energy as well as determination and pain. However, there is balance, as a third character, a country fellow who plays an actor who is also a conman, and thief, as well as a guide and a companion. His presence adds a light touch. More than likely the locations will all be new to you, and some are quite breathtaking. Then there are the strong and marvelous performances by the two leads.
Directed and written by Nagesh Kukunoor, this is truly a memorable film. Available on DVD, and as a DVD rental from Netflix, or the film is available via streaming from Erosnow.com . Beyond the film, on the DVD, there is a 15 Minute Special Feature where the director, and the actors all speak about The Making of Dor. It is a real insider look at the art of film, and very rewarding in its own right. I’m going to give this film a four point zero rating out of five, and also give it a strong recommendation.