Deepa Mehta’s “Water” will be released in the land of the helmer’s birth several years after Hindu fundamentalists shut down production of the pic and threatened her.
Director Ravi Chopra’s BR Films will distribute the film in India next month. Pic will be released in Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta and then other metro areas such as Bangalore and Chennai.
“Water,” the third pic in Mehta’s Element trilogy, revolves around the treatment of widows in colonial India. Hindu fundamentalists broke up production in the holy city of Benares and forced Mehta to complete lensing in Sri Lanka under a different name and with a new cast. Even after the pic bowed to critical acclaim and kudos in 2005, Indian distributors were afraid to take on the pic due to threats from extremists.
“Some days I am really thrilled and other days I’m scared about what they will do to the movie halls,” Mehta said, referring to the fact that rioters vandalized theaters when “Fire,” the second in her trilogy, unspooled in the late 1990s. That pic was about lesbians, also a taboo topic in India. “Earth” was the first film in the trilogy.
The director, who is now a Canadian citizen, will go to India in February to promote the pic, which is Canada’s entry in the Oscar foreign-language category.