She is a still a child at heart closing her eyes in horror during a violent scene in a film and absorbs every word in a film that she can repeat the words when she sees it again. She loves dancing to the tunes of film songs imagining herself to be Aishwarya Rai or kareena kapoor. A child forced to be a woman through marriage and early widowhood. She accepts it passively when society tells her that her life and happiness are over when her husband dies.Her happiness depended on being someone's wife and when that someone disappears he takes all her happiness with her.She would live her life serving the parents of her husband and obeying them and staying away from every happy occasion.It is her bad luck that her husband died. She has to make amends by leading an austere life.It is ok for her because she is scared of the outside world and the uncertainties. She prefers the security of her familiar surroundings, so every decision is made for her and she does not have to make decisions or be responsible for the consequences. Even if it means staying in a dark room clothed in drab clothes and going out just once a day to go to the temple.

And then she meets another woman who tells her that she has a right to be happy. She is not a sinner if she felt happy and danced just two months after her husband's death. She has to take her life in her hands and accept responsibility for her decisions.This friend tells the young widow that her life is not over with her husband and she has a right to live her life and a right to happiness. This is a woman who has no time to wallow when she is confronted with troubles as she has to to solve it in the best possible manner. She will try till the end and if her world still comes crashing down she knows how to pick up the pieces and start all over again and fulfil her responsibility to herself.

It is incidental that the latter is from a religion that we like to believe oppresses women by imposition of the veil. And the former follows a religion that accords Godhood to women.It is also incidental that the latter actually comes seeking the help of the former and ends up becoming her friend and showing her the way to happiness.All that matters is that both are women and both fulfil their roles with strength.

It is about how a liberated woman , a stronger woman can hold the hand of a weaker one and empower her.It is a duty that those who have crosed the traditional lines have towards those that are still confined by the lines.

Wonderful film - DOR.Please watch.Touching performance by Ayesha takia, Gul Panag and a very entertaining role played by Shreyas Talpade. Nagesh has delivered again!
For a more professional review , as always, I direct you to my favorite film critic Baradwaj Rangan here.

And if you are as concerned as I am about socially regressive effect of all the martyrhood being conferred on sufferring women in Tamil serials please vist this site and express your solidarity.
20 Responses
  1. rads Says:

    Dor - surely sounds a wonderful not-to-be-missed movie of the year. Am waiting for the DVD to become available.
    beautifully written :)

  2. Anonymous Says:

    In a comment on your earlier post, Sad Realities, I had wanted to know if
    there were any major religion other than Hinduism that prohibited widow remarriage. Apparently, even the Hindu scriptures are ambivalent about this issue according to Status of Widows.

    Not that I care about the irrational prescriptions and proscriptions of religion, but for what it's worth to those who may, I'll reproduce just the summary here:

    "...To summarize, it appears that various Hindu scriptures give conflicting viewpoints on the status and proper conduct of widows...

    ...What then to do with these conflicting opinions, especially since there are literally 100's of verses in the Hindu literature forbidding widow remarriage? I feel that the Vedas, which are of paramount authority for Hindus, do not forbid remarriage of widows anywhere but rather advocate. They therefore automatically abrogate all contrary injunctions of other religious literature. The Poorva Meemamsa rules for the interpretation of scripture clearly state that if two smritis clash, the two conflicting viewpoints indicate alternative practices, both being equally valid. Even according to this rule, widow remarriage is offered as an alternative to the lifelong celibacy of widows in the Smritis."

  3. will definately watch this movie. You've already created such a strong positive feel for it. As for rat fools comment - I dont know about other religions - but I do know that Islam strongly advises widows to re-marry (so that there is a male to protect her - I dont know how positive that is)

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Hmm.. I shall catch up... :)

  5. Mahadevan Says:

    Only when I came down to the fifth para, I realized that you were reviewing a film - so absorbing.

    How to conduct her life, after the unfortunate death of her husband should be left to the will of the woman. The responsibility of the society is to ensure that she is given security, and provided a means of livlihood, should she needs one. She must not be made to feel alienated and be acccepted as part of the mainstream in all functions, as she used to be before becoming a widow.

    Remarriage is a personal choice and society or Religion should have no say in it. A community or an organisation one belongs to, should always be an enabling force. It should facilitate her to remarry, if he chooses to or to remain single, if she finds solace in that.

    Legally, Hindu marriages are governed by secular civil laws and hence widow remarriages are valid, notwithstanding the favour or frown from religious texts.

  6. GuNs Says:

    I barely missed watching this film before I came to the UK.

    Maybe I'll watch it here on DVD once I get settled.


  7. passerby55 Says:

    DOR... Some days ago, a count down programme said..

    DOR ko door hee rakho...(in short keep away from this film). IT will not collect money at the Box will not work, the audience won't see it

    NOW, i should see this film.


  8. Artnavy Says:

    Did not see it in Hindi but saw the supposedly original in Malayalam- it was incredibly moving with Meera Jasmine playing the lead.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    I have been hearing a lot about DOR. It sounds like a wonderful film. Waiting for the CD to become available!
    Well written post:)

  10. Paavai Says:

    Thanks for the details and contructive review of the movie. Will see it.

    Have you seen 'Water' as yet? Deepa Mehta has created the same impact that she did with Earth

  11. Usha Says:

    Rads: Please see. Actually there is a story behind why these women meet which is equally gripping.But this is what the film meant to me. Let me know what you think after seeing it.

    the RF:The trouble seems to be that the people interpreting our scriptures brought their own preferences into what the scriptures said and imposed it on society depending on the conditions prevailing at those times and thereafter they were blindly followed without questioning their relevance to changed times. Like a woman not deserving freedom (the famous quote from manu) might have been ok for a period when they were brought uplikle that. In todays age of Kiran bedis and Indira Nooyis it is a bad joke!

    Somethingtosay: Hm, interesting point.But the woman can decide if she wants that protection or not,I hope?

    Kishore: please let me know what you think after you "catch up"

    Mahadevan: yes, it should be left to the persons concerned to decide what they want to do in stead of society dictating what is "right" and "appropriate".

    Guns: please do. And all the best on your stay.

    passerby: Surprising! i did not know this film attracted such reviews. Are you sure it was DOR and not DON?

    Krishnakumar: Please do and thanks.

    Paavai: No i have not. I think it did not hit the cinemas but only some private screenings like the film societies and festivals. Hope to see it.

  12. sounds good

  13. Sounds like a good film.

    Religion seems to have played havoc in lives, hasn't it?

  14. Anonymous Says:

    i was a bit disappointed when i heard this movie was a remake of a malayalam movie. but this still does not take away that fact that it's a wonderful film. and i'm so glad that Nagesh kukunoor followed his dreams and gave us so many good films.
    and lastly...amazingly written usha...your observations on the film are brilliant!

  15. Hip Grandma Says:

    Seems good.I hope they screen it at the film festival here.Are DVDs available?

  16. Mohan Says:

    I reviewed the same movie in my blog sometime ago. Thought of sharing it...:)

    nothing against others who have commented here, but it was interesting to see so many ppl waiting for a DVD/CD to come out and then watch the movie...:)

  17. Usha Says:

    ITW: You will like it!

    Bala: religions are good Bala. it is the Society that causes the havoc.

    Aqua: Thank you. Do you concur?

    Mohan: I enjoyed your review Mohan. meant to return for my comments after viewing but slipped. Thanks for the reminder.
    I guess the people who are waiting for teh DVD are either abraod or missed it in the cinemas.

  18. ggop Says:

    Thanks for the review.
    For the first commenter - it is available on Netflix. So your local indian video store will surely have it.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    seeing 'Dor' was like reading a good keeps you thinking about it weeks later..

    Nagesh kukanoor's films are now much more polished compared to the rawness (but still fun) of Hyderabad blues..

  20. Usha Says:


    This was posted many months ago. I dont know how this showed up as a recent pot.
    And I agree it is something that has an impact on you after many months.