‘Water’ at Majestic Cinema

Deepa Mehta's controversy-ridden film "Water" of the trilogy'Earth' and 'Fire' is now being screened at Majestic cinema in Colombo, two NFC circuit cinemas in Galle and Kandy.

The movie which is almost a Sri Lankan production with a number of lead cast, crew and technicians from Sri Lanka was shot entirely in Sri Lankan locations is the latest direction of Canada based Indian director Deepa Mehta.

Winning Canada's National Film Awards for Best Actress, (Seema Biswas) 'Water' went to on to win the Best Motion Picture award at the Bangkok Film Festival 2006. Making of 'Water' is yet another tale of courage and determination in filmmaking. It was originally intended to be made in February, 2000, with a different cast including Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das and Akshay Kumar. The day before the filming was due to begin, there were complications over gaining locations and the following day over 2,000 protesters stormed the ghats, destroying the main film set, burning and throwing it into the Ganges in protest of what they thought of the film's criticism of Hinduism's time honoured rituals and customs. Mehta eventually gave up making the film in India and shot the film in secret with a different cast in locations in Sri Lanka, under a different title Full Moon in 2003. This as usual paved a way to take a number of local talent and locations to international level. Irangani Serasinghe and Buddhi Wickrema and amateur Sarala, with a large number of extras starred in the movie while Errol Kelly and his team recreated the Indian holy city Varanasi and the river Ganges by the Bolgoda lake with a massive and impressive set to the complete amazement and satisfaction of everyone.

The film is set in 1938 during India's road to independence with the film examining the plight of impoverished widows at a temple in Varanasi, India.
Child marriages (to older men) was still prevelant during the colonial rule of the British Raj in India. When a husband died, his wife would be forced to spend the rest of her life in an ashram, an institution for widows to make amends for the sins of her previous life that supposedly caused her husband's death. But the advent of Chuyia an eight-year-old widow who has just lost her husband, paves the way for many changes in the lives of the once discarded and improverished widows inhabiting the ashram.

Sarala in a scene from 'Water'

The National Film Corporation in association with film producer Chandran Rutnam and GFM (Global Film Marketing)- a new film distribution company started by well-known architect Navin Gunaratne with Chandran Rutnam will present 'Water' to Sri Lankan audiences in the NFC circuit.

Kelly's Talent dashed in water

Well known art director Errol Kelly whose fame for his art direction of Steven Spielberg's 'Indiana Jones-Temple of Doom', is once again at his best creating notable sets by the Bolgoda Lake and at Gintupitiya and Kotahena has not been named in the technical crew as the production designer.

In creating 1930's India, Kelly had to make a personal visit to get the required backdrop and temperament. Yet in the technical board Kelly was titled as 'Design Consultant' instead of Art Director. The art director named is director Deepa's brother Dilip Mehta who came down to Sri Lanka as a still photographer once the set was completed. Commenting on this, Chandran Rutnam of Film Location Services vows to fight for Kelly and take it up with the director Deepa herself. Kelly himself made no comment.

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