Film & TV / Open Chest TV / OC TV: Acclaimed Filmmaker, Deepa Mehta

OC TV: Acclaimed Filmmaker, Deepa Mehta

Film & TV Open Chest TV Oct 22, 2015

Born in India, Deepa Mehta received a degree in philosophy from the University of New Delhi. She began her film career writing scripts for children’s movies and documentaries, but it wasn’t until 1991 that Mehta produced and directed her first feature film, Sam & Me, which won the Camera D’Or at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival.

In 1992, she directed a one-hour episode of the ABC-TV series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles on location in Benares, India. In 1993, Mehta directed her second feature film, Camilla, starring Bridget Fonda and Jessica Tandy. She then directed the final episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles in 1994 on location in Prague and Greece.

Mehta’s third feature film, Fire (1996), was also her screenwriting debut. It won Most Popular Canadian Film at the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Silver Rose for Best Feature at the Verona Love Screens Film Festival, the Audience Award at the L.A. Outfest and tied with Fly Away Home for the Air Canada People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. At the Chicago International Film Festival, it won two Silver Hugo Awards for Best Direction and Best Actress. In Mannheim, Fire won the Jury Award and in Paris, it was voted Favorite Foreign Film.

Earth (1998), based on Bapsi Sidhwa’s critically acclaimed novel, Cracking India, is the second film in Mehta’s trilogy of the elements, Fire, Earth and Water. It won the Prix Premiere du Public at the Festival du film asiatique de Deauville, France and the Critics’ Award at Italy’s Schermi d’Amore International Film Festival.

[blockquote]Her biggest success so far was the romantic comedy Bollywood/Hollywood (2002), which was nominated for five Genie awards (including Best Picture), winning Best Original Screenplay.[/blockquote]

Next up for Mehta was another romantic comedy, The Republic of Love (2004), starring Bruce Greenwood and based on a novel by the late Carol Shields. She has also filmed the last in her trilogy, Water (2004). She also brought Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children to the big screen in 2012 that premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. Most recently, her feature film Beeba Boys premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and released worldwide in theaters on October 16. The film looked at the Indo-Canadian drugs and arms scene in Vancouver, Canada and was loosely inspired by true-events.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with the acclaimed director during TIFF weekend, on the eve of Beeba Boy‘s worldwide red carpet film premiere. It was during this chat that Deepa revealed the true inspiration behind the creation of the style-clad and action heavy film and how it portrays our familial bonds and tells a very intimate and emotional story of the immigration experience.


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