Movie Review: Dor (डोर)

Dor movie poster
I had this movie on Netflix for a while before I sat down to watch it, and I'm not sure why I waited!  Two women, recently married, come together in a cruel twist of fate.  Zeenat (Gul Panag), in Himachal Pradesh, marries the man she loves despite his parent's objections.  Meera (Ayesha Takia), is happily married in Rajasthan.  Driven by economic necessity, both husbands leave their homes to work in Saudi Arabia, becoming roommates.  In unclear circumstances (Accident?  Murder?) Zeenat's husband is accused of killing Meera's husband.  She receives word that her husband will be sentenced to capital punishment  unless she can get a stay signed by Meera.  With nothing other than a photo of Meera's husband, Zeenat sets off to find Meera and convince the new widow to save her own husband from execution.

The beautiful part of this movie is that although the situation is created by their husbands, the entire drama and story of the movie unfolds between two women.  As a widow Meera is only allowed out of the haveli to visit the temple; Meera and Zeenat's friendship develops on the temple steps and beneath the tree outside the temple, its branches covered with fabric representing the prayers of hundreds of women.  The two trace the outlines of grief and forgiveness, anger and acceptance, and truth and deception as they come to know one another.  

Most of the movie is set in Rajasthan, which gives it a gorgeously romantic feel.  But this beauty is tempered by realities of a life of a widow (broken bangles, plain saris, and a life completely controlled by in-laws).  Shreyas Talpade offers a bit of comic relief as a small-time traveling con-man, but the majority of this film is about two women, one who lost what she considers most dear, and one who needs an incredible act of kindness to save the life of the one she loves.  It's fascinating to watch women from very different backgrounds come to know one another.  And I held my breath right up to the end to see whether the humanity that connects these women would overcome the deep differences between them.  Beautiful, heart-felt, and well worth watching.