Deepa Mehta's 'Water' Goes From Being Banned to Oscar Nomination

January 28, 2007

Author: Sandip Roy

Source: New American Media

Deepa Mehta’s film Water has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. It’s the third in a trilogy following Fire and Earth. It looks at a colony of widows set in a sacred city whose lives are upturned by a new widow, a child, in their midst. Mehta’s films have caused movie theatres to be burnt down in India by angry mobs and they have also won awards for the issues she addresses with the fiercest of passions. NAM editor and host of UpFront Sandip Roy spoke with Mehta when the film was first released and asked Mehta why she chose the subject. Water.

Mehta: I made Water because its central theme is extremely relevant to me and - I think - in our world today. And that is the conflict between our conscience and our faith. To use the widows who I was exposed to in ashrams, seemed an appropriate vehicle to explore that theme.

Do homes like the one you show in the film still exist?

Yes they do. They’re pretty much the way it’s been depicted in the film. The houses are run by childhood trusts or temple trusts or by the Indian government. The good thing is that a lot of grassroots work has been done with widows to alleviate their problems, which are soci-economic, by women activists.

Widows have traditionally been cast off because their families don’t want to bear the financial burden of feeding her or share property.

That’s true. Sadly, when you think of all oppression in the world it’s always economic reasons, and it’s the same thing with widows.