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Released: 2005
Character: Narayan

Chuyia (Sarala), whose father drops her at an ashram for widows. The place is run by Madhumati (Manorama), a hugely fat and domineering woman in her mid-70s. The child's tongue and rebellious instincts upset the household for several days as she meets the widows who reside in this dilapidated two-story dwelling built around a courtyard.

The one who first befriends the child is Shakuntala (Seema Biswas). She struggles to calm the girl down even as she herself struggles with issues of faith and self-worth. She closely questions an affable priest, who recites scripture at the ghats or stone steps down to the river, presumably the Ganges.

Gradually, the focus shifts to a young widow, who could be Chuyia in another decade. This is Kalyani (Lisa Ray), who is very beautiful. To earn money for the ashram, Madhumati uses the services of the pimp Gulabi (Raghuvir Yadav) to prostitute Kalyani to the Brahmin gentry across the water.

When Kalyani's puppy escapes and Chuyia gives chase, the dog is corralled by a handsome law student and Gandhi nationalist, Narayan (John Abraham). He and Kalyani swiftly fall in love, but widows cannot marry. Actually they can, according to a new law, but as the priest admits, men ignore laws that inconvenience them.

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