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The film eloquently contrasts the growing pains of three young women with the immutability of the holy Bengal River in India, around which their daily lives unfold. Harriet lives in a house overlooking the river with her English family. One day, a young American arrives at the home of his cousin, Mr. John, a widower who lives next door to Harriet's family. The young man becomes the focus of attention for Harriet, her older friend Valerie, and for Mr. John's half-Indian daughter Melanie.