John willingly surrendered to 'Water': Deepa Mehta

Feb 25, 2007 Subhash K. Jha


Mumbai, Feb 25 (IANS) Director Deepa Mehta says John Abraham unhesitatingly surrendered to his character in "Water" while there was constant friction with her leading man Aamir Khan during the making of "1947: Earth".

"Aamir felt I wasn't allowing him to interpret the role properly. Today, after the release of 'Water', there's a huge revival of interest in 'Earth'. John surrendered to my interpretation of his character unquestioningly. Aamir wasn't happy doing the role the way I wanted to. Aamir's performance is being widely noticed. I think 'Earth' came too soon," Mehta told IANS.

The Canada based Indian filmmaker's "Water", which has Lisa Ray, Seema Biswas and John playing the main leads, is in the running for the Oscars in the best foreign language film category.

Mehta feels the film, which depicts the tragic existence of widows in the early 1930s, doesn't need any promotion.

"It's already released commercially in the US. Even the DVD is out," she said.

One of the first persons to call Mehta after "Water" made it to the Oscars' shortlist was John, who will walk the red carpet with her on the big night.

"He was as excited as a school kid. Frankly, I'm also ecstatic."

Mehta is in a state of daze now.

"I can't believe 'Water' has come so far. It's actually made it to the final five nominations! What really makes me happy is the competition. This year's other nominations are of an exceptionally high calibre."

Mehta says she is more than happy to walk the red carpet with the film and its cast.

"It's a Canadian film. But it's in Hindi and therefore as Indian as it's Canadian. Will it finally win? I don't know. The fact that I'll be able to walk the red carpet at the Oscars with 'Water' and its cast is enough for me. I never thought 'Water' would come so far. This was a film that almost didn't get made."

Mehta doesn't have any regrets that the film couldn't be made in Varanasi. "Water" ran into trouble when she tried to shoot it in Varanasi in 1999. Hindu rightwing activists violently opposed the film by burning the sets. The director was forced to shelve it and she later shot the movie in Sri Lanka.

"I feel the film would've been different in texture if it was shot in Varanasi. However, finally I'm glad I made it in Sri Lanka. My vision was tranquil and comfortable.

"I didn't have to have tea with dozens of politicians just to ensure my next day's shooting," remarks Mehta, alluding to the political interference that finally stopped "Water" in Varanasi.

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