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Water on the boil again in Varanasi

Deepa Mehta's controversial film 'Water' has once again sparked protests in Varanasi, reports Prabhu Razdan.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2007, 20:46 IST

Deepa Mehta's controversial film 'Water' has once again sparked protests, six years after she made an unsuccessful attempt to shoot the film in the holy city of Varanasi.

The film, nominated for an Oscar, has generated heat in the city for projecting widows in poor light and derogatory comments about Mahatma Gandhi.

Though the film has not been released in India, its CDs are available. According to reports, the film features dialogue that is contemptuous of the Father of the Nation.

As the news about the derogatory remark spread in the city, the Congress took the lead in staging protests. Congress MP from Varanasi Rajesh Mishra even claimed to have shot off a letter to Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Priyaranjan Dasmunsi in this connection.

Congress activists staged demonstrations at two places in the city and demanded a ban on the movie in India.

The first such protest was held in the busy Lahurabir area where Youth Congress activists torched an effigy of Mehta and the film. 

"We strongly condemn Mehta for derogatory remarks against Father of Nation in the movie," City Youth Congress president Vipul Pathak said.

Activists of the Rahul Gandhi Vichar Manch staged a similar protest in the Maidagin area. They torched an effigy of the film-maker and demanded a ban on the movie.

"It is shameful that Water shows a eunuch making derogatory remarks against Mahatma Gandhi," they said.

In 2000, some activists had protested Mehta's attempt to shoot Water in Varanasi. Her set was damaged and a bandh or shutdown was observed in the city in protest against projection of widows in poor light.

Mehta was forced to abandon the shooting here. She shot the film in Sri Lanka.

"We wonder how the Congress has woken up after a six-to seven year gap. We had protested Deepa Mehta's designs against Hindus and Indian culture and traditions in 2000," KK Mishra, who spearheaded the movement in 2000, told HT. "We were branded communal when we took to the streets. Now they have realised what we suspected six years ago has turned out to be true," he added. 

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