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Deepa Mehta 56th BFI London Film Festival: Midnight's Children
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Deepa Mehta "Midnight's Children" Premiere - Arrivals - 2012 Toronto International Film Festival
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Deepa Mehta A Conversation With Deepa Mehta And Salmon Rushdie - 2011 Toronto International Film Festival
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Deepa Mehta's earlier film Fire had already attracted hostility from some people in the Hindu community. Many objected to using the names of two prominent Hindu Goddesses for the lesbian couple. The film only screened for about 2 weeks before being pulled from cinemas after several movie houses were damaged by protestors. The resulting tensions meant that Mehta struggled for many years to make Water and was eventually forced to make it outside India.

Mehta originally intended to direct Water in February, 2000, with a different cast that included Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das and Akshay Kumar. The day before filming was due to begin, the crew was informed that there were complications with gaining location permits. The following day, they learned that 2,000 protesters had stormed the ghats, destroying the main film set, burning and throwing it into the Ganges in protest at the film's criticism of Hindu rites. Also some activists from Shivsena attempted self-immolation to prevent her from filming.She was lucky to escape the scene without any harm as the tension was at its peak.

Deepa eventually gave up on making the film in India ( some say that she might have been even assasinated if she would have insisted )and shot the film secretly with a different cast in Sri Lanka, under the title River Moon in 2003. The film was finally completed and debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2005.

The struggle to make the film was detailed in a non-fiction book, Shooting Water: A Mother-Daughter Journey and the Making of the Film, written by Mehta's daughter, Devyani Saltzman (whose father is Canadian producer and director Paul Saltzman).

In addition, according to Playback magazine:

Mehta is battling the accusation that she lifted her script from the novel Sei Samaya. The award-winning book by acclaimed Bengali writer Sunil Gangopadhyay - which goes under the title Those Days in English - like Water, also deals with the "child widow" phenomenon that has plagued India for centuries.The charges were first made by Hindu extremists angered by the touchy subject matter and who attacked and burned the Water set in the holy city of Varanasi, causing over $600,000 worth of damage. Production was shut down until last year, when Mehta secretly finished the movie in nearby Sri Lanka. Mehta answered the accusations with a lawsuit against Gangopadhyaya, publisher Badal Basu, English translator Aruna Chakravarty and editor Anuradha Dutta, who went along with the plagiarism accusations.

The issue was eventually settled out of court.

Prior to shooting of the film in Sri Lanka, Deepa Mehta and Producer David Hamilton decreed that only copies of the script excluding the rape scene of the young widow Chuyia were to be circulated among the crew. It was feared that either child actor Sarala's parents or local authorities would attempt to hinder the scene being shot. A plan was hatched to have Sarala's mother, who was always present with her during shooting, distracted and led away from the set by the local service producer while the key scene was being shot. Senior crew members who were aware of this plan found it highly objectionable and unethical, and expressed their very strong disapproval to producers, pointing out that such actions in Canada would be both illegal and subject the producer to a very substantial fine, possibly even 'blackballing' by the actors' guilds ("Water" was primarly financed with Canadian taxpayers' funds).
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