While I haven't really enjoyed Deepa Mehta's past couple of projects, I was a huge fan of both Fire and Earth. Both films were creative, visually stimulating, and quite intuitive. I really thought Earth needed to be made, and the direction Mehta gave to the film really raised my expectations for her future film offerings, specifically the final portion of the trilogy, Water. And finally it seems, Mehta was able to finish filming the third portion of the series, not in India, but instead in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Here is a link to an interview she gave to sify.com a couple of days ago.
And here is an excerpt:
It's been a traumatic time for you?
Water's journey has been traumatic and anguished, but finally very satisfying. In the last two years I came to terms with the tragic disruption of the film in Varanasi. I had to move on and yet make the film. My creative output wouldn't have been complete without finishing the trilogy. The last Indian film to be shot in Colombo was Mani Ratnam's Kannattil Muttamittal. That's right. I saw that and other films shot there. I thought of Colombo as the location for Water about a year ago. There were no hassles in getting permission for shooting. We made a film without politics coming in our way (laughs). I'd have loved to make the film in India.
But I couldn't. Anyway, I don't think my film suffers because of the transposition. I didn't have to look anxiously over my shoulders at who's shooting the next volley at my film. I could just focus on making the film. That fear is a real impediment to creativity.
Did you at any time think of shelving the project?
I let all the fear and insecurity play itself out. I couldn't stop myself from doing Water just because some people would read political statements in it. I made the film because I had to make it. It took my time to get over the trauma in Varanasi. We shot in 45 days with John Abraham and Lisa Ray without any distraction.
What made you choose John Abraham and Lisa Ray?
When things didn't work out with Rahul Khanna and Kareena Kapoor, I thought of actors who would be dedicated to my project. I had worked with Lisa in Bollywood/Hollywood. There's something lovely about her. I thought she suited my heroine Kalyani's character to perfection. Lisa cut her hair really short to play the widow. She didn't need to shave her head. Just have it brutally shorn.