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Panihari: The Water Women of India

posted Oct 23, 2010, 12:02 AM by Diana Rohini LaVigne
Title: Panihari: The Water Women of India
Format: DVD
Directed By: Abi Devan & Sudhi Rajagopal
ISBN 978-1-933724-01-0

Breathtaking and heartbreaking. Panihari is a film that explores the life of Rajasthani women whose lives center around their daily journey to fetch water. The extreme challenges these women and their families face are shown via the expert cinematic talent of Indian-American directors Abi Devan and Sudhi Rajagopal. The film brought the reality of India’s situation with a water shortage into the eyes and minds of viewers and stands to bring international attention to a much overlooked topic. The DVD strives to achieve more than most with a guidebook, lesson plan and director’s commentary to encourage people to engage, discuss and become aware. Looking into the eyes of the women who face life’s harsh reality brings their plight into the focus of viewers. It was a film with some contrasts with such beautiful spans of the landscape, yet the realization that the beauty of the desert is not just a charm but also a curse. Filmmakers bring home the point that this issue is critical to bring into the spotlight and long overdue for serious brainstorming for a solution. Panihari was easy to comprehend and allowed those affected to tell their story in a documentary style way. It was informative and has inspired me to pass along my newly found information. This is a film that should be a mandatory film for educators working in South Asian studies and for any cultural exploration education and training. Understanding these women and their ‘walk for water’ is such an important issue that I highly recommend everyone to see this excellent film.