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Deepa Mehta surprised by Kunal Kohli's contention

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
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View WATER Press Meet - Picture GalleryDeepa Mehta is more shocked than amused by filmmaker Kunal Kohli's contention that he would have preferred "Rang De Basanti" winning over Oscar-nominated "Water" because the latter dealt with "problems ... that happened 100 years ago".

"I haven't watched Kohli's cinema. But I'm sure he's gifted and intelligent. He should know cinema or any relevant art is about reclaiming traditions and other legacies of the past. In fact, all the five films that were nominated in the best foreign language category this year were situated in a slice of the past from a specific country and culture," Mehta told IANS.

"Caste and gender discrimination are the two issues that occupy 'Water'. They've as much relevance today as they did 100 years ago. Is Kohli saying that films with a sense of history and tradition should be rejected? 'Water' wasn't appreciated in the West because it peddles Indian mysticism to the West."

Mehta is back home in Toronto after the Oscars experience and says it gave her immense pleasure to see that Indian films are seen in a different light now.

"We didn't get the Oscar. But it's an experience me, Seema Biswas and John would never forget. We met the most important people in Hollywood - all of whom seemed aware of 'Water'. For me the fact that Indian cinema is now being perceived as more than just the song-and-dance exotica is very gratifying," Mehta told IANS.

Mehta's "Water" captures trials and tribulations of widows living in the Gandhian era. People have compared "Water" to Satyajit Ray's "Pather Panchali".

"That's very gratifying," said Mehta. "The quality of humanism has come across in 'Water', and that's the quality that counts in today's cinema."

Mehta is truly hurt by the attitude of disdain that has been thrust on "Water" by some filmmakers in Mumbai. "I'm surprised they haven't embraced it."

The filmmaker won't be in India for the release of "Water" March 10.

"I've a script to write. My next film 'Exclusion' again goes back into the past. By some people's logic, I'm already excluded from the Oscars," she chuckled.

 


 
 

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