This courageous drama is the first from India to focus on a lesbian relationship. It sees a young girl called Sita (Das) coming to live in the New Delhi household of her arranged husband Jatin (Jaaferi), only to discover he's still seeing his Chinese mistress. Sita befriends her sister-in-law Radha (Azmi), who's enduring a barren marriage with her own spouse, and the two women form a physically intimate relationship - with incendiary results.
While Fire works on a metaphorical level (the family in question represents the tensions between traditional values and individual desires) it succeeds because it's a remarkably tender and sensitive love story. Writer-director Deepa Mehta takes time to flesh out all her characters and although it feels cramped visually, it delivers a poignant emotional charge, not least because of excellent performances from Das and Azmi.
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