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

Deepa Mehta is thrilled that her Water has made it to the final nominees in the Best Foreign Film category for the 2007 Academy Awards. In an expected volte-face from the days when controversy dogged the making of the film, Water will now be released in India on February 23. Subhash K Jha talks to the directrice.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2007 13:11 IST

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 DeBasanti 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 February 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."

First Published: Jan 25, 2007 13:11 IST