Mehta jubilant at Oscar selection for 'Water'

Sep 26, 2006 Subhash K. Jha


Mumbai, Sep 25 (IANS) Noted Indo-Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta is on cloud nine with her "Water", a Hindi language film on the widows of Varanasi, being chosen as Canada's official entry in the foreign language category at the Oscars.

"I can't believe the irony of it. A film about the widows of India in Hindi, which I had to shoot in Sri Lanka because I wasn't allowed to shoot in my home country, is now going to the Oscars as Canada's official entry," Mehta told IANS from New York.

"Water" - starring John Abraham, Seema Biswas and Lisa Ray - is already considered India's most feted film since Satyajit Ray's "Pather Panchali". The film seems to have stuck a note of poignancy far beyond its immediate and culture-specific boundaries.

"I'm specially proud since 'Water' was up against many formidable films. It's a very big moment for me," said Mehta, who is finalising a big epic to star Hollywood's most saleable actress.

"But before that I've to go into my next project 'Exclusion'. John Abraham, who's now become a dear friend, is already on. But I'm waiting for Mr. Bachchan to green-light the project."

International distributors for "Water", Fox-Searchlight, geared into action after hearing about the Oscar announcement.

"They'll be taking care of the entire Oscar publicity and marketing. Fox-Searchlight hired the services of a major international PR agency within four hours of the Oscar announcement. I couldn't have done it on my own, not the way Aamir Khan took 'Lagaan' to LA and promoted it for the Oscar."

Interestingly, Mehta's "Water" will most probably be competing against Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's "Rang de Basanti" for an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign film.

"I loved 'Rang De Basanti'. I think it's a very important Indian film. It should be India's Oscar entry. I'm now looking forward to the release of 'Water' in India. My Indian distributor Ravi Chopra is looking at a November release," said Mehta.

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