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Letter stirs fresh row over Water

Letter stirs fresh row over Water

Usha Jaiswal
The Observer Of Business And Politics
February 7, 2000
Title: Letter stirs fresh row over Water
Author: Usha Jaiswal
Publication: The Observer Of Business And Politics
Date: February 7, 2000

The Sanskar Bharti's letter to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Ram Prakash Gupta, demanding immediate ban on the shooting of Deepa Mehta's film Water in Varanasi and a probe into the alleged bungling on her part, has further deepened the row.

D P Sinha, national chief of the Sanskar Bharti (Dramatic Cell) had written a letter to the Uttar Pradesh chief minister on Sunday demanding suspension of shooting till the probe was over. It may be noted that Mr Sinha was sent to Lucknow by the Sangh Parivar to find out the facts and assess the situation regarding the shooting of the film and its opposition.

He handed over a three-page letter to the chief minister supported by other documents Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting approval order for shooting, Deepa Mehta's letter to the deputy secretary, I&B Ministry, Uttar Pradesh PWD minister Kalraj Mishra, chief secretary and industrial development secretary of the state, for necessary action and help.

The film producing company of Canada Flagship International, approached the I&B Ministry, claiming that it is the producer of the film Water, on December 6 '99, had requested for necessary permission. At the same time Deepa Motwani of an Indian company named Vast Galaxies Investment Ltd, Delhi, wrote to the UP chief secretary informing about the shooting and also demanded several facilities from the state government like air tickets, concessional hotel accommodation, etc.

In another letter to industrial development secretary of the state, it was said that the film was produced by Vast Galaxies Investment ltd, and sought permission for import and re-export film equipment and stocks. This fax was endorsed to Deepa Mehta, David Hamilton and District Magistrate of Varanasi.

In another letter dated December 31, '99, Deepa Motwani' informed senior Uttar Pradesh minister Kalraj Mishra that the film Water was produced by Vast Galaxies Investment Ltd.

According to Sanskar Bharti and the supporting documents, the I&B Ministry was approached by Deepa Mehta through Flagship International, Canada, saying that they are the producers of the film, while they approached the state government through Vast Galaxies Investment.

None of the correspondence of the production unit with the state government was made through the Canadian firm nor any of the officials or the minister was told the fact that Deepa Mehta is a foreign national.

Sanskar Bharti urged the state government to constitute a probe to enquire into the facts before allowing shooting of the film because Vast Galaxies Investment, Delhi and Flagship International, Canada, have no linkage.

They also requested the state government to find out which of these two firms are the real producer of Water and how can one individual - Deepa De Motwani - could represent both the companies as production manager and unit production manager for Flagship International, Canada and Vast Galaxies Investment, Delhi respectively.

Meanwhile, shooting of the film began on Saturday amid strong protest.

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