khamosh pani

This movie is a punch in the gut once you realise what the title, “Silent Waters”, actually means.

Spoilers below, so click away or scroll past this entry NOW
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Throughout the film, Ayesha flashes back to the partition of India and Pakistan, and there are girls around a well, and one keeps on running away. Then there are shots of a girl hiding. Eventually, when Ayesha’s brother Jaswant comes to town, we learn why that well matters: Ayesha’s family used to live in that town, mother, sister, brother, and Ayesha (then called Veero). The girl running and hiding is Ayesha. She’s running because all the men in the village are killing their women and girls rather than let them be abducted by Muslims. The way they do it?

The women jump in the well.

How anyone draws water from that well afterwards is beyond me; you’d think the bodies would create a bit of a problem. Ayesha goes only twice more, once to meet her brother, a Sikh returned on pilgrimage, and once to meet her end.

By itself, the notion of jumping into a well to commit suicide isn’t so chilling. Realising that you’re jumping after many people, that there may be a bottom to hit, and that you won’t be alone in the water when you finally drown… Ayesha’s mother and sister go one after another. I couldn’t. To know that her heart will stop soon, possibly before mine, I couldn’t.

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