Mehta's 'Komagata Maru' is now titled 'Exclusion'Jun 15, 2006 Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai, June 16 (IANS) After making the critically acclaimed "Water" on the plight of widows in the 1930s, director Deepa Mehta is busy with her historical "Komagata Maru", which she has now titled "Exclusion".
"I'm working on the script of my historical opus 'Komagata Maru' which I have now titled 'Exclusion'. But I don't want to rush it. 'Water' isn't allowing me to move away," Mehta told IANS.
Before getting into "Exclusion", Mehta wants to do a comedy tentatively titled "Stella".
"It is a wacky fun comedy about a woman who's an out-and-out con person. I have just spoken to the Bollywood actress I have in mind for the role. And she seems all for it. Now we just need to work out her dates. And we are on."
Mehta's "Water" is fast acquiring the reputation of being the most internationally feted Indian film since Satyajit Ray's "Pather Panchali".
After a screening in the US, litterateur Salman Rushdie described "Water" as a "magnificent film" and compared Mehta to Ray.
"I am deeply flattered by such comparisons. It just goes to show that the theme of humanism that Ray had advocated has found its echoes in my 'Water'," said Mehta.
Speaking on the film's screening in the US, Mehta said: "It was an evening I'll never forget. Everywhere I have gone with 'Water', the reaction has been that of stunned silence at the end. At the Los Angeles screening it was no different. And yet it was different.
"There were dignitaries from all professions at the screening. They were just so overpowered. Seema Biswas' performance had them specially moved. Audiences in the West don't remember her as the Bandit Queen at all. She is totally unrecognisable as the voice of reason, Shakuntala, in 'Water'.
"We have so far had screenings in Washington, New York and Los Angeles. The impact is stunning. Our distributors, Searchlight Fox, are unleashing the kind of promotion and marketing in the US that's unheard of for a Hindi language film."
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