Festival offers controversial Hindu film

June 29, 2005 at 1:04 PM
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TORONTO, June 29 (UPI) -- "Water," a controversial movie about Hindu widows whose filming led to violent protests in India, will inaugurate the Toronto International Film Festival.

Directed by Deepa Mehta, the film deals with what some Hindu women go through after they become widows. Mehta is an Indian-born Canadian citizen.

The movie was completed in Sri Lanka after it was abandoned in India five years ago following protests by those who claimed it distorted Hindu culture, the BBC reported.

The Toronto festival opens Sept. 8 and runs through Sept. 17. "Water" got the opening slot over better-known Canadian filmmakers Atom Egoyan and David Cronenberg.

"The film is absolutely not anti-Hindu," Mehta said. "The script was read and passed by the very government that protested, so you wonder about that."

Variety said "Water" centers on an 8-year-old child bride sent to an ashram after her husband's death. She forces the other widows to question their culture and faith.

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