Friday, April 27, 2007


It was a weekend. I was bored. There was nothing good on tv. I took the remote control and channel surfed. Then I came across this hindi film. It’s not a typical boy-meets-girl-singing-in-the-rain-changing-clothes kind of film. It’s a story about two women, Zeenat and Meera. Zeenat is a muslim woman from the colder north India. Meera on the other hand is a hindu woman from hotter south India.

The story began with both women getting married – Zeenat to the man she of her choice, and Meera, an arranged marriage. After a brief honeymoon, both women had to send off their husbands to work in Arab Saudi.

Zeenat lived in her own house near to her in-laws. She visited them regularly and willingly gave them the money that her husband sent her every month. Meera on the other hand, lived with her family and abides all they rules. We get this idea that Zeenat was very independent woman who views and opinion was accounted for. On the other side of the spectrum is Meera, who follows all the family traditions, and was always berated by father. Zeenat and Meera path crossed when Meera husband died.

It was said that Zeenat’s husband had caused the death. Being a widow means all privileges would be stripped from Meera. She no longer allowed to wear colourful clothes and bangles. She is expected to mourn for her husband and never to enjoy the pleasure of life till the end of her days. Zeenat had to travel across India in order to save her husband from death penalty. She needed Meera’s signature on some sort of ‘amnesty’ document for her husband.

Zeenat met her first stumbling block when Meera’s family refused to allow her to meet Meera. They went as far as spitting on her. Zeenat had to ask her travelling companion to spy on Meera. From him, she found out how to meet Meera without her family’s knowledge – during her daily trip to the temple. On her first meeting with Meera, Zeenat had wanted to tell her about the amnesty document. However, remembering how Meera’s family reacted, Zeenat hesitated.

Zeenat and Meera became friends. Zeenat was very much disturbed by the treatment that Meera received. She told Meera that it is okay to feel happy and alive after the death of her husband. She also told the naïve Meera that it is not right to be treated like a slave in her own house. As their friendship bloomed, slowly but surely Meera began to embrace the ideas brought by Zeenat.

Time was running out for Zeenat. The date for her husband execution was already fixed. When Zeenat finally confronted Meera, Meera was enraged. She felt betrayed by her newly acquired friend. In the mean time, Meera’s family found out about her secret meetings. Her father scolded her and ‘sentenced’ her to be locked in a room. Instead of keeping quite like she usually did, she gave her family a piece of her mind, before coolly walked to the room.

While being locked in the room, Meera came to her senses. Her husband was already dead. There was no point of letting another woman’s husband died too. With the help of her grandmother, Meera got away. She got to the railway station in time to hand the amnesty document to Zeenat. As the train was about to move, Zeenat stood at the coach door and extended her hand to Meera. She was inviting Meera to come with her. After a true-hindi-film-style-train-chase, Meera managed to grab Zeenat hand and climbed on board.

In a way, both women have saved each other. Meera saved Zeenat from becoming a widow while Zeenat saved Meera from a ‘dead’ life.

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