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Banned in India, ‘WATER’ Deepa Mehta’s new film

AID/WATCH presents ‘WATER’ the new film from Indian/Canadian auteur Deepa Mehta

Banned in India, ‘WATER’ Deepa Mehta’s new film, is set against the backdrop of fading colonial power in the holy city of Varanasi, India. Exploring the lives of a group of widows forced into poverty ‘WATER’ examines the complexities of the caste system.

Deepa Mehta’s courage in making the film and fighting the institutional restrictions that still exist in India, reflects the ability of one person with a vision to make a powerful political statement. Conservative protesters, who destroyed film sets, threatened to set themselves ablaze and imposed death threats on Mehta herself, halted filming. The disruption caused the filming to be shut down and although the film has been made, five years after initial production, it continues to be banned in India.

Against this backdrop the issue of free speech and freedom of expression come to the fore. As one of Mehta’s film crew questions ‘When does compromise reduce the impact of the original idea?’ and when ‘is it more important to get a little of the idea out rather than none at all? At what point does the right to freedom of expression become negated and censorship takes over.

At AIDWATCH’s presentation of ‘WATER’, Wendy Bacon free speech campaigner for over three decades, will highlight the links between the current context in India and the looming issues surrounding censorship and aid and the imminent threats to advocacy groups in Australia.

AID/WATCH is a not for profit activist organization monitoring and campaigning on Australian overseas aid and trade policies and programs. We work to ensure aid funding reaches the right people, communities and their environments.

For more information on ‘The Politics of Deepa Mehta’s ‘WATER’ see:

http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/28/water.html

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