After two movies, Bollywood/Hollywood and, before I started watching Indian movies but long after having started watching Canadian ones, The Republic of Love, I am neither here nor there about Deepa Mehta. What's most interesting about Fire to me is that many, many people were either very here or very there - sometimes violently so - about it. Especially, according to her commentary, middle-aged men in India, who went wild at the possibility that the idea this movie depicted - that women dare to claim space and choices for themselves - might upset the institution of marriage.
This was an uncomfortable story for me because with each passing heartbreak and disappointment I thought "I'm so glad that's not my life" - about all the characters, not just Rhada and Sita. Everyone in this movie is trapped at some point. Despite being a sensible girl, my life has been mostly free of required responsibilities - maybe a few I've chosen, like a job and a house - and it's interesting to consider what life would be like with them, whether a push-button response to tradition, like Sita, or a vow to someone whom I no longer understand, like Rhada. The relief came in readjusting their requirements because something within compelled them - and I felt that relief with them. Maybe not a typically Bollywood-type happy ending, but one that offered release.
Not being loved when you need to might be one of the great human tragedies, especially when contrasted with our great capacity to love when we are so moved.