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Fire (1996)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  22 August 1997 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 4,242 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 54 user | 35 critic | 14 from Metacritic.com

Ashok runs a family business that sells takeout food that also has a video rental store at the side. Ashok's extended family includes his wife Radha, his brother Jatin, their ailing mother ... See full summary »

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Title: Fire (1996)

Fire (1996) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Karishma Jhalani ...
Ramanjeet Kaur ...
Young Radha's mother
Dilip Mehta ...
Young Radha's father
Javed Jaffrey ...
Jatin (as Jaaved Jaaferi)
...
Vinay Pathak ...
Guide at Taj Mahal
Kushal Rekhi ...
Biji
...
Ranjit Chowdhry ...
Mundu
...
Alice Poon ...
Julie
Ram Gopal Bajaj ...
Swamiji
Ravinder Happy ...
Oily man in video shop
Devyani Saltzman ...
Girl in video shop (as Devyani Mehta Saltzman)
Sunil Chhabra ...
Milkman on bicycle
Edit

Storyline

Ashok runs a family business that sells takeout food that also has a video rental store at the side. Ashok's extended family includes his wife Radha, his brother Jatin, their ailing mother Biji and their manservant Mundu, all living under the same roof. Jatin, at the insistence of Ashok and their mother, Biji, agrees to marry the beautiful Sita in an arranged marriage, although he is actually in love with Julie, a Chinese-Indian. At first glance, you see a happy middle-class family going through the normal paces of everyday life. However, as the layers are slowly peeled back, we find a simmering cauldron of discontent within the family, with almost every family member living a lie. Both marriages in the family turn out to be emotionally empty, without love or passion. While Ashok is an ascetic who has taken a vow of celibacy, Jatin is a handsome ladies' man who is still openly seeing Julie even after his marriage to Sita. Ashok has pledged his total devotion to a religious holy man, a... Written by Hariharan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

marriage | fire | servant | friend | bell | See All (83) »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

22 August 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fire - Wenn die Liebe Feuer fängt  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$14,384 (USA) (22 August 1997)

Gross:

$402,749 (USA) (10 October 1997)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On its opening day in India, some movie theaters were attacked by Hindu fundamentalists, and the movie was eventually banned for religious insensitivity. The film was banned in Pakistan for the lesbian relationship that the movie plays around. See more »

Quotes

Radha: Where's Jatin?
Sita: Meeting his girlfriend.
See more »

Connections

References Basic Instinct (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Aa Jaa Zara Mere Dil Ke Sahare
Performed by Geeta Dutt & Hemanta Mukherjee (as Hemant Kumar)
Written by S.H. Bihari
Composed by Hemanta Mukherjee (as Hemant Kumar)
Courtesy of The Gramophone Company of India Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

Smoke and Mirrors
25 July 2011 | by (Fraggle Rock) – See all my reviews

Bold, controversial and taboo-breaking are among the many attention-grabbing words that have been used to describe 'Fire' and this has no doubt helped the film gain recognition. However, I feel that such adjectives undermine the true beauty of that is depicted in this picture. It deals with many themes such as feminism, affection, love and freedom and at the heart of the film lies the relationship between Seeta and Radha. The bond between them is portrayed with such innocence, tenderness, affection and sensibility that its beauty stands out. The growth in the two characters and the development of their relationship is splendid to watch. While the relationship is portrayed with sensuality, there is no titillation or overt skin exposure.

Due to the theme of homosexuality and the questioning of religion, 'Fire' was ridiculously banned in several countries. It is never specified whether Seeta or Radha were exclusively homosexual. They're never shown to not enjoy a sexual relationship with their respective male partners. Radha has made numerous attempts over the years to have that kind of intimacy with her celibate husband but he's the one who refuses while in Seeta's case, sex is a mechanical thing for her husband. What they Seeta and Radha find in each other is affection, love, desire and tenderness, something they yearned for but never had with their husbands.

Many have argued that Deepa Mehta deliberately uses shock value and portrays India as repressed in order to make her film appeal to the Western audience. I don't know whether that was her intention with 'Fire' but to me it felt like an honest movie and the problems portrayed in this film are still very much a reality in India. I would even go as far to say that this is among Mehta's best works. Her use of metaphors is brave and gives the film a poetic feel.

Mehta's films have often scored high in the technical department and 'Fire' is no different. Here the cinematography and A.R. Rahman's score particularly stand out. The music is mesmerizing. The art direction too is brilliant.

Luminous Nandita Das is terrific as the young, vivacious and energetic Seeta. Shabana Azmi is once again transcendent. Her nuanced, quiet and restrained performance easily touch on the heartstrings. Kulbhushan Kharbanda and Javed Jaffrey provide good support.

Forget all the labelling, controversial or not 'Fire' is worth seeing for the beauty it portrays when two people find love and freedom in each other.


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