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Does Mehta's 'Midnight's Children' Prove The Novel Is Unfilmmable?


Deepa Mehta Salman Rushdie

The movie adaptation of Salman Rushdie's Midnight Children, directed by Deepa Mehta, hit theaters in the U.S. on the back of largely average reviews. It is often joked that the Booker Prize winning novel is unfinishable, with film adaptations subsequently sidestepped because of the skill and vision involved in such a project. Until now.

Nevertheless, Mehta has given it a go though the critics are unconvinced that he has succeeded. David Denby at the New Yorker wrote, "Rushdie's characteristic antic humor animates the family scenes, but the movie gets bogged down in endless plot convolutions and whimsy (the material would have worked better as a TV miniseries)." Rachel Saltz at the New York Times said, "A movie that, if never exactly dull, feels drained of the mythic juice that powers the book, which won the Booker Prize in 1981."

Robert Abele at the Los Angeles Times praised the movie's visuals though ultimately fell short, "A pretty but staidly linear epic drained of the novel's larkish, metaphorical sweep, and a collection of multi-generational love stories lacking their originally eccentric, fizzy charm," he said. Claudia Puig of USA Today agreed, writing, "The film is beautifully shot, with vivid production design. But because of the tale's lack of cohesion, it doesn't carry enough emotional heft."

Continue reading: Does Mehta's 'Midnight's Children' Prove The Novel Is Unfilmmable?

Midnight's Children Trailer


At midnight on August 15th 1947, India gained their independence from Britain during the decline of the British Empire. 'Midnight's Children' tells the story of how at that exact same time, a boy by the name of Saleem Sinai was born; a boy who soon learned that he was extraordinary in many ways as he possessed magical telepathic powers as a result of the time he was born. He later learns that other children born at the same time also have similar powers and he sets up a kind of club of all the Indian children born between midnight and 1 a.m. Along the way he clashes with Shiva, another Midnight Child who finds himself despising Saleem for his wealthy upbringing which is a strong contrast to his own poverty stricken life. Little do they both know, however, that they were deliberately switched at birth and fated to live the life the other son should've had. 

'Midnight's Children' is the emotional fantasy drama adapted from Salman Rushdie's 1981 novel of the same name which won the Booker Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize on its publication. The author also wrote the screenplay in his feature film debut alongside director Deepa Mehta ('Heaven on Earth', 'Bollywood/ Hollywood').  It is set for release on December 26th 2012 in the UK. 

Directed: Deepa Mehta 

Continue: Midnight's Children Trailer

Opening Night Gala Of The 5th Annual Dubai International Film Festival Held At The Madinat Jumeriah Complex

Preity Zinta and Deepa Mehta - Preity Zinta and Deepa Mehta Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Opening Night Gala of The 5th Annual Dubai International Film Festival held at the Madinat Jumeriah Complex Thursday 11th December 2008

Preity Zinta and Deepa Mehta
Preity Zinta

Mehta Defends Film Role


Deepa Mehta

Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta has denied he stole the credit for Oscar-nominated film WATER from his "dear friend" ANURAG KASHYAP.
Kashyap believes he was not given enough praise for translating the Hindi dialogue and insists making the film was "a terrible experience".
But Mehta is shocked at the accusations as he thought they were good friends.
He says, "Why did Kashyap speak like this? He's such a dear friend with a great mind. I truly admire him. And yes, his contribution to Water is invaluable.
"It was Kashyap who used his skills with the Hindi language to bring my characters to life. Not once did he tell me or let me feel that he was having a terrible time. We seemed to get along so well."

Mehta's Water Fails To Make Splash


Deepa Mehta

Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta's Water, which was nominated for a foreign-language Oscar this year, has failed to attract an audience in India, where the movie is set. When Mehta first began production of the film in India in 2000, Hindu fundamentalists staged violent protests, burning down the sets and eventually forcing Mehta to flee to Sri Lanka to complete her film. The film opened in India to mostly glowing reviews from critics, but trade analyst Taran Adarsh told Reuters that it "caters to a niche audience -- only those who appreciate quality cinema." A spokesman for one of the Hindu groups that demonstrated against the original filming told the wire service that it has not resumed its protests because "nobody is watching the film. It has met a quiet death."


28/03/2007

Indian Supermodel, Actress Portrays Lesbian


Deepa Mehta

A top Bollywood actress has touched off controversy in India following word that she will play a lesbian in her forthcoming movie, I Can't Think Straight, which was recently filmed in England. Indian-Canadian Lisa Ray, who starred in Deepa Mehta's Oscar-nominated Water, declined to discuss the film when contacted by IANS, the Indian wire service. But Aseem Bajaj, director of photography on the film, remarked that he does not see the subject matter as controversial -- "not in this day and age." Ray herself is not unfamiliar with controversy generated by her films. Water sparked violent protests by Hindu fundamentalists when it began shooting in Varanasi in 2000, forcing the Uttar Pradesh government to halt additional filming there.

Continue reading: Indian Supermodel, Actress Portrays Lesbian

Mehta To Make Film On Korean Princess


Deepa Mehta

WATER director Deepa Mehta is set to make THE JULIA PROJECT, a biopic about an American interior designer who married the last crown prince of Korea.
The film will focus on JULIA MULLOCK, who met KYU LEE in New York City in the 1950s after Japanese colonisation and subsequent independence had removed the royal family from any official function in Korea.
After marrying, the couple lived in Hawaii and then moved to Seoul. In 1982, Lee divorced Mullock under pressure from his family due to the lack of an heir.
Lee died last year (05), while Mullock still lives in Hawaii.

Water Review


Good
Whoever did the marketing for Water is eternally on my shit list. At the beginning of the preview for Deepa Mehta's latest film, it dramatically announces that certain people wanted to suppress it from distribution but, get this, "the filmmakers would not be silenced." It's like the back of a Rushdie book that labors on how he was almost killed for his novels: What the hell does that have to do with the movie besides to say its controversial? Knockaround Guys was in the can for a good three or four years before it was released, but that didn't make it a film of importance nor a film to stop arranging your sock drawer over. At least Water doesn't count in the same category as that.Chuyia (Sarala) is nine years old and has just lost her husband. If that doesn't creep you out enough, peep this: Widows, in Hindu culture, were sent to an ashram where they would live till their last day. It's 1930, so this ideology is still commonly considered the norm. Chuyia immediately bonds with a loner in the group, Kalyani (the radiant Lisa Ray), who hides a puppy in her hut and breaks many other rules of the ashram. One day, when the puppy runs away, they both run into Narayan (John Abraham), a handsome gentleman with glasses and a penchant for Ghandi. Narayan is persistent in his courting of Kalyani, who by Hindu tradition can not date or get remarried. Finally, she caves in and agrees to marry him, but after the agreement, a strange punch of faith hits her and things get gloomy.Underneath all the ritual and religion, Water is a simple love vs. faith story. Kalyani is soft spoken in her rebellious nature, but she does believe what Hinduism teaches the women. Her friend Shakuntala (a superb Seema Biswas), works in opposite fashion as she is first held down by belief but then opens up to belief in freedom, brought to a head when she witnesses Ghandi speaking at a train station. Mehta orchestrates these clashes of ideology deftly, especially the side plot involving Gulabi, a man who pimps out the widows to rich men, and the head mistress, Madhumati (Manorma). The love story is simple enough to work and engage the audience, but the real winner here is Mehta and Giles Nuttgens, the cinematographer. Together, they create a luminous world around the controversial lifestyle and rituals of these women.Coming into Mehta's "Elemental Trilogy" a novice, I find that her skill at direction far exceeds her writing ability. Although no line sticks out as awkward or painful, there's nothing to really remember in the language either. The film lingers in your memory for those clear, concise images, like the rain outside Kalyani's hut that seems to be constantly falling. Hindu fundamentalists will be up in arms, no doubt, but the film is artful in showing the positive side of belief and the negative responses to freedom and free thinking. In other words, it is definitely worth putting off that sock arrangement for one more day.Hey, who's thirsty?

Mehta: 'Was It Worth It?'


Deepa Mehta

Indian director Deepa Mehta experienced so many problems making her award-winning movie WATER, she wonders whether it was worth the trouble. Mehta's hard-hitting drama focuses on 300 Indians who were refused entry into Canada nearly 100 years ago. But the gritty film-maker has come under such fire for the controversial subject matter in Water, and also in her previous movies FIRE and EARTH, she is still reeling from the reaction she has caused. She says, "Now that the film is complete, I can look back on the journey it has taken to make it. "The anguish, the death threats, the politics, the ugly face of religious fundamentalism - we experienced them all. "Has it been worth it? I often wonder."

Water Review


Good
Whoever did the marketing for Water is eternally on my shit list. At the beginning of the preview for Deepa Mehta's latest film, it dramatically announces that certain people wanted to suppress it from distribution but, get this, "the filmmakers would not be silenced." It's like the back of a Rushdie book that labors on how he was almost killed for his novels: What the hell does that have to do with the movie besides to say its controversial? Knockaround Guys was in the can for a good three or four years before it was released, but that didn't make it a film of importance nor a film to stop arranging your sock drawer over. At least Water doesn't count in the same category as that.

Chuyia (Sarala) is nine years old and has just lost her husband. If that doesn't creep you out enough, peep this: Widows, in Hindu culture, were sent to an ashram where they would live till their last day. It's 1930, so this ideology is still commonly considered the norm. Chuyia immediately bonds with a loner in the group, Kalyani (the radiant Lisa Ray), who hides a puppy in her hut and breaks many other rules of the ashram. One day, when the puppy runs away, they both run into Narayan (John Abraham), a handsome gentleman with glasses and a penchant for Ghandi. Narayan is persistent in his courting of Kalyani, who by Hindu tradition can not date or get remarried. Finally, she caves in and agrees to marry him, but after the agreement, a strange punch of faith hits her and things get gloomy.

Continue reading: Water Review

Mehta Tackles Another Hard-Hitting Subject


Deepa Mehta

Indian director Deepa Mehta, whose film WATER - about the plight of widows in colonial India - won best film at the Bankok Film festival last month (MAR06), has signed up for another hard-hitting drama. The film, tentatively titled EXCLUSION, focuses on 300 Indians on a ship refused entry into Canada nearly 100 years ago, according to producer DAVID HAMILTON. The movie will begin filming next year (07) in Canada and India.

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