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Deepa Mehta feels like a prodigal son

Saturday, February 17, 2007
UNI: Noted film maker Deepa Mehta said she has no bitterness for India, where the shooting of her film Water, on the plight of widows in Varanasi, was disrupted five years ago and which is now the Oscar finalist from Canada in the Best Foreign Language category.

Addressing a press conference here after the music release of the film, Deepa said she felt like a 'prodigal son' who had been sent away and returned with the release of Water, due here on March nine.

The Canada-based filmmaker said India was the country of her birth and she had no bitterness about her shooting experiences here.

''It was only a handful of people who had problem. The experience of shooting Water in Varanasi, five years ago, has completely changed me. After the five year hiatus, I grew up as a film maker, beginning with a clean slate. The script is the same and only location and cast are different,''she said, adding that the new Water contained more cinematic details than the previous one.

Deepa said Water was titled 'Rivermoon' during the shooting schedule in Sri Lanka to avoid any attention. ''It was the most peaceful shoot,''she said.

She said a film maker embarks on making a movie only when he/she feels passionately about the subject.

''There was a feeling of sadness within me that Indians will never get to see the movie set during 1938, which is now a canadian entry in the Foreign Film Category for the Oscars,'' the film maker said.

Fortunately, producer Ravi Chopra saw the film and showed the courage to market and distribute it in India,'' she added.

Mr Chopra, who was present at the press conference, said he was aware of the controversy the film had generated during its shooting stint in India. ''I am both, responsible Indian and Hindu. The film does not hurt anybody's sentiments,'' he added.

He said he will release Water with 80 to 100 prints.

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