Indian Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta's controversial movie Water has become the highest-grossing Hindi language film in North America for 2006, according to Box Office Guru, a website here devoted to cinema.
Starring Lisa Ray and John Abraham, the period drama about Hindu widows in 1930s India, has grossed $2.3 million in the US since its release on April 28, surpassing the $2.2 million gross of Aamir Khan's hit Rang De Basanti that opened on January 27.
Khan also stars in the third-biggest Hindi hit of the year, Fanaa, which debuted on May 26 and has grossed $1.9 million to date.
Even more impressive, the figures for Water include only ticket sales from the US while the grosses for the Aamir Khan films take in both the US and Canada as they released in both countries simultaneously.
The third film in Amritsar born Mehta's elemental trilogy - after Earth and Fire - opened in her Canada base in November 2005 and was a critical and commercial hit there as well.
In the US, Water has played in limited release reaching 91 theatres at its widest point of distribution and has remained in the Top 30 for the past seven consecutive weeks fuelled by strong word-of-mouth.
The award-winning film has performed best in the New York metro area where it has grossed over $554,000, or one-quarter of the entire national gross.
Fox Searchlight, the film's American distributor, is still opening Water in new cities around the country and expects the picture to keep playing for many more weeks to come.