Review Bengali

Widows Of Vrindavan review: Sorry tales in a holy place

Release Date: 26 Sep 2019 / 19min

Cinestaan Rating

  • Direction:
  • Music:

Keyur Seta

Filmmaker Onir brings to light the stark reality of the abandoned widows living out the rest of their lives in Vrindavan.

The holy town of Vrindavan is famous as the land of Krishna. At the same time, the place is infamous as home to thousands of widows who live out their lives in terrible conditions, unseen and unwanted. Director Onir’s documentary Widows Of Vrindavan, as the name suggests, portrays the lives of some of these abandoned women.

The widows of Vrindavan, most of them in their sixties and seventies, are uniformly draped in white saree and keep their heads covered, counting the prayer beads with one hand as they recite the name of the lord. They all look the same when they are moving around Vrindavan in groups or in single file, or when they are going about their daily chores.

But these women are human; each has a back story, a different back story, with one commonality: they are all sad.

Widows Of Vrindavan looks more at the back stories of some of these widows than at the sorry conditions in which they live; that reality is evident but remains in the background.

The documentary focuses on the widows revealing their past and how they landed up in Vrindavan. The narration of each woman is real and touching. It does not feel as if they are putting on an act for the camera. The oldest of the group is the best, what with the undercurrent of humour in her narration. 

While all the stories are moving, the one that is most heartwrenching is that of a man who leaves his mother there as his wife refuses to look after her.

Onir’s approach is simple, and it works well. He has not used any special techniques or even much of a background score to create any effect. The content and the stories themselves are such that they grab your attention. All it needed was some crisp editing, which the film has.

The only complaint one has with the documentary is that it feels too short. It leaves us thirsting to know more about these women and their lives.

Widows Of Vrindavan was screened at the 10th Jagran Film Festival in Mumbai on 26 September 2019.

Related topics

Jagran Film Festival

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