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I can't believe 'Water' has come so far: Deepa Mehta

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
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Canada based Indian filmmaker Deepa Mehta says she was stunned by news that her "Water", which faced several hurdles, has been short-listed for the Oscars in the best foreign film category.

"I can't believe that a film, which was shunned by a section of the Indian politicians and ripped apart six years ago, has come so far," Mehta told IANS from Toronto.

According to Mehta, the competition this year is really tough.

"I've never seen a wider and more prestigious variety of films from across the world being nominated for the foreign language category. They're all super, brilliant films and I'm deeply honoured to be in such august company. Now maybe ... just maybe, we will win the Oscar."

Out of the 61 entries, Mehta's "Water", about the plight of widows in India in the 1930s, starring Lisa Ray and John Abraham, was selected as one of the nine films in the prestigious category.

So far only two Indian films - Mehboob Khan's "Mother India" and Ashutosh Gowariker's "Lagaan" have made it to the nomination list.

"Water" finds its luminous level at the Oscar race with masterpieces like the Algerian film "Days Of Glory", the Danish "After The Wedding", the French "Avenue Montaigne", the German "Lives Of Others", the Mexican "Pan's Labyrinth", the Dutch "Black Book", the Spanish "Volver" and the Swiss "Vitus".

Mehta's only regret is that "Rang De Basanti", which is one of her favourite films, got left out. The film about the awakening of the youth was India's official entry to the Oscars.

"I love the energy and audacity of 'Rang De Basanti' so much. And I really wanted it to be in the nominations. But I suppose two Hindi films, even if they were representing two different countries, were out of the question."

Mehta has been told that "Water" is being released in India Feb 23.

"That's what my producer - the gracious Ravi Chopra - has told me. He said the clutter of releases before that was too large. I've my fingers crossed."


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