ApunKaChoice : Bollywood


Deepa Mehta'Water' to release in India
20th Feb 2007  09.00 IST
By Agencies  

After garnering much critical acclaim as well as box office success abroad and becoming the fourth film by an Indian filmmaker to be nominated for an Oscars, Deepa Mehta 's Water will hit Indian theatres on March 9.

'Water' is one of the most successful Hindi language films in North America - it has already brought in 5.6 million dollars at the US box office after it played in 150 theatres - in recent years but for Canada-based Indian filmmaker Deepa Mehta, an Indian release for 'Water', is something she has waited for a long time.

''I am thrilled that the film will finally be able to be seen by Indian audiences,'' Mehta said at a press meet in the Capital recently where B R Films, 'Water's distributors in India, announced the date of the film's India release.

'Water' has been selected by the Oscars Academy among the final five nominees for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Award. The awards are scheduled to be held on February 25.

The film whipped up much controversy in India when Mehta began its shooting in Varanasi seven years ago which led to protests by fundamentalists forcing her to suspend shooting and abandon the project.

Starring Bollywood hunk John Abraham , model-turned-actress Lisa Ray and Seema Biswas , 'Water', the third in the trilogy of films by Deepa Mehta after 'Fire' and '1947 Earth', deals with the plight of widows in 1930s' India.

The film has already been theatrically released in 57 countries, including the United Kingdom and Denmark also.

Speaking at the press meet, Ravi Chopra , producer of socially-relevant films like Baghban and Baabul and the head of B R Films, said it was a cause of elation for Mehta that a film which she struggled for over five years 'to make, was finally' being released in her native land, the country where she was brought up and where the story of the film was based.

Chopra, however, said his decision to take up the release of the film in India was not impelled by the film winning an Oscar nomination.

''The decision to release the film in India was made before the film bagged the Oscar nomination,'' Chopra said.

On the reason for B R Films taking up the release of the film in India when no other distributor was willing to take it up, Chopra said,'' it is a very cute film, a beautiful love story. It is a film, which has won accolades and box office success galore in the US and in this sense made India proud in the West. This is all the more reason why I felt people in India should see this film.''

On her part, Mehta, in what was her first interaction with the Indian media after bagging the Oscar nomination, expressed a sense of gratitude to B R Films and Chopra for venturing to release the film in India when no Indian distributor was willing to release it.

''After the experience with 'Fire', where theatres were burnt down in protest, I was worried about whether any distributor would be willing to show 'Water'. That Ravi Chopra is willing to take a chance with 'Water' heartens me and gives me hope,'' Mehta said.

The theatrical release for the film in India comes almost seven years after protests by fundamentalists who alleged that the film was "anti-Hindu".

Set against Mahatma Gandhi's Civil Disobedience movement of 1938, 'Water' is a deeply resonant tale of three women and their uprising against gender injustice and servitude in the 'widow houses' of India.

After widespread protests which followed the film's shooting in Varanasi in 2000 - sets of the film were set on fire by radical Hindu protestors who also burned Mehta's effigy in the streets and even threatened the director - hundreds of army troops were deployed to protect the cast and crew but the production was finally forced to shut down.

Deepa Mehta
John Abraham
Lisa Ray
Seema Biswas
Ravi Chopra

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