Saw a replay of the IIFA Awards 2007 which was held in Yorkshire, UK a couple or so months ago. Deepa Mehta was justifiably recognized on stage for her trilogy: Fire, Earth and Water. Each addresses a hot-button issue not only in India, but across the world.
Fire (1996): On the politics of sexuality.
Earth (1998): On the politics of geography and war.
Water (2005): On the politics of religion.
Each taught a lesson. Each brought things to light for those of us who tend to forget the problems with our own society.
My favorite of the three...hmm...that is tough to decide. I think Earth with Aamir Khan and Nandita Das, for the issue addressed in that is what I feel most strongly about. My only wish would be that the film not be as graphic as it was. Then again, that is probably what leaves the viewer with a lasting impact. Water was right up there too with some fantastic imagery.
Honorable mention to Shabana Azmi in Fire (who plays one a Lesbian lover of Nandita Das) and Lisa Ray (a widow) in Water, who are absolutely stunning in their respective roles. You could almost see them set the screen afire.
Each of the movies has a great soundtrack by A.R. Rehman to go with it. My favorite soundtrack is the one for Water -- some of the bhajans were Gandhiji's favorites (the Mahatma even makes an appearance in the film), so right there is an obvious connection. My favorite performance, other than Aamir Khan's in Earth, was Lisa Ray in Water, clad in white. Simplicity and beauty personified.
Overall, each of the films is well worth a watch and each soundtrack a listen.
Trilogy [movie] Rating: **** (VERY VERY GOOD)
Trilogy [soundtrack] Rating: **** (VERY VERY GOOD)
My Classification: A/R (for language, theme, violence, and sexual content)
Watch it if: You agree with frankness is addressing political issues in each of religion, war, and sexuality.