90 minutes – Documentary
Release Date: April 25, 2008
DVD release date: September 2, 2008
Distributor: Mongrel Media
The international success of Deepa Mehta’s Oscar-nominated film Water, which is about an eight-year-old child bride who is widowed and sent to an ashram to live out her remaining days in penitence and extreme poverty, caused a dramatic rise in curiosity about the state of widows in India today. The Forgotten Woman was made in direct response to this interest. When Dilip Mehta learned that some 40 million women lived in the same conditions today he was appalled and felt compelled to make a documentary about the contemporary realities behind the historical fiction. The film opens in the ancient temple city of Vrindavan with striking images of thousands of widows living in poverty. The Forgotten Woman examines the general status of widows today as compared to the past and attests to the intense research conducted by the filmmakers and is truthful to the findings that indicate that although there has been a positive change in the state of widows in India over the past few decades, there is still an enormous stigma and exploitation of widows, which prevents them from living their lives with any basic human rights. This documentary takes the camera into the ashrams and onto the streets, where millions of Indian widows are still forced by age-old tradition to live their remaining years isolated from and shunned by society. The film is in Hindi, Bengali and English with English subtitles.