"Using Shakespeare's story of warring fathers and wayfaring children to highlight the horrific paternalism to which India's substantial widow population is still subject, Water explicitly aligns Romeo and Juliet not with the transcendent forces of romantic love but instead with the practice of sex trafficking and the project of colonial power. Indeed, as a film that documents the repressed histories of a female underclass that has been silenced for more than two thousand years by religious fundamentalism, State-sanctioned gender oppression, catastrophic neglect, and rampant sexual abuse, Water engages in the urgent practice of 'counter-memory.' By 'overwriting' dominant cinematic codes and 'writing back' against the twin forces of empire and systematic gender oppression, [Deepa] Mehta—as a feminist auteur—intervenes in the long history of Shakespearean adaptation by developing a counter-cinematic and, in many respects, a counter-Shakespearean, filmmaking ethos."
-- Courtney Lehmann
Lehmann, Courtney. "'An Élan of the Soul'? Counter-Cinema and Deepa Mehta's Water." Shakespeare Bulletin: A Journal of Performance Criticism and Scholarship 34, no. 3 (2016). (436-437)