Fire (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

Fire (1996)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

This Canadian drama takes place in India, where two wives find comfort in each other's arms after finding none from their forced marriages. Jatin and Satin are not happily married, neither is Jatin's brother Asok and his wife Radha. Satin and Radha finally find happiness with each other.
Art House & International , Drama , Romance , Gay & Lesbian
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
New Yorker


Alice Poon
as Julie
Karishma Jhalani
as Young Radha
Ramanjeet Kaur
as Young Radha's Mother
Dilip Mehta
as Young Radha's Father
Ravinder Happy
as Oily Man in Video Shop
Devyani Saltzman
as Girl in Video Shop
Sunil Chhabra
as Milkman on Bicycle
Vinay Pathak
as Guide at Taj Mahal
Avijit Dutt
as Julie's Father
Shasea Bahadur
as Julie's Brother
Meher Chand
as Goddess Sita
Bahadur Chand
as God Ram
as `Ramayan' Troupe Member
Sohan Lal
as `Ramayan' Troupe Member
as `Ramayan' Troupe Member
Amarjit Chand
as `Ramayan' Troupe Member
Karam Chand
as `Ramayan' Troupe Member
Kabir Chowdhury
as Boy in Video Shop
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Critic Reviews for Fire

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (10)

Speaks tellingly about individual freedom for women versus social expectations and arranged marriages.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Mehta's direction of her unusually intimate film is delicate. The acting is notably good, especially from Azmi.

January 1, 2000
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

Mehta's larger goal -- demystifying India -- is powerfully, unsettlingly realized.

January 1, 2000
Top Critic

The pieces don't all work perfectly, but the whole is gently affecting.

January 1, 2000
Top Critic

The film has a seductive resonance.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Fire may be a film, but its story of frustrated desires, love-starved women and the stifling bonds of tradition makes it resemble one of those fat best-selling novels that can fill a summer day at the beach with hours of undemanding pleasure.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Fire

One thing in particular that this film gets right from beginning to end is its mood. Right from the start, 'Fire' builds an atmosphere of tension and intensity that refuses to let up. This stems main from the interactions between the two central female characters and their in-laws, which is the heart of this drama. Awkwardness is not the right descriptive word here, because awkwardness implies either the script didn't function correctly or that there is an element of humor in the scenes. Neither situation is the case here. No, what 'Fire' does brilliantly is lay a vice grip on its audiences' throats and only increases the pressure as the movie's story builds. The main elements of this tension and tone are solid acting from the whole cast, efficient pacing from the script, and a passionate, if somewhat melodramatic score from A. R. Rahman. All these characteristics work on and with each other organically and naturally until the the absorbing climax. All the above is what works in 'Fire.' Thankfully, these things make up the majority of the film, and its faults are relatively minor. The only part I had a major problem with was the ending. Like I said earlier, the climax of the film (the penultimate scene) is a symbolic and highly effective dramatization of 'Fire's' main theme, and yet there is an additional final scene afterward that nearly negates the entire meaning of the previous scene. This one key scene does a lot to lessen the power of the picture's climax, and for me, this really detracted from my overall viewing experience and evaluation of 'Fire.' With that said, 'Fire' is a really powerful film that has a lot to say and meaning behind every scene. There are some minor questionable writing decisions, like the aforementioned final shots, but these are ultimately forgivable against the larger point of the movie. It is also worth noting that this film is much more akin to Western films than Hindi films. Although the story is set in India, 'Fire' is primarily a Canadian production, and as such, has more film elements in common with North American filmmakers. The dialogue is primarily in English and resembles the more subdued, realistic acting of Western films. Also, there are no musical numbers and the running time is less than two hours long.

Todd Bollinger
Todd Bollinger

The ultimate Mehta for me was the end of the trilogy Water but this was a fine start. Parallels to the later Jihad for Love as lesbianism takes hld in a traditional environment.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


Tried over and over, but could not get into this film.

Leigh Ryan
Leigh Ryan

Super Reviewer

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