This has to be a first. A film in the Hindi language about the widows of Varanasi has been chosen as Canada's official entry into the foreign-language category at the Oscars. Deepa Mehta's Water, already considered India's most feted film since Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali seems to have stuck a note of poignancy far beyond its immediate and culture-specific boundaries
Hours after the announcement Deepa Mehta was ecstatic. "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 suit in my home country, is now going to the Oscars as Canada's official entry. I'm specially proud since Water was up against many formidable films. Its a very big moment for me" she said from New York where shes finalizing 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." The international distributors Fox-Searchlight for Water geared into action within hours of 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 Deepa Mehta's Water will most probably be competing against Rakeysh Mehra's Rang de Basanti for an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign film. Says Deepa, "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 Mr Ravi Chopra is looking at a November release."
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