'Heaven On Earth' about all battered wives: Deepa Mehta

Mumbai, June 29 (IANS) Deepa Mehta's new film "Heaven On Earth" is on domestic violence, but the acclaimed filmmaker insists that it is not the story of one battered wife, as projected by some reports.

She is shocked to hear that her movie, set for an October release, is being seen as the story of Aman Deep, who went to Toronto from her village in Punjab only to become an abused wife.

"Aman is of course a part of 'Heaven On Earth'. But so are 10,000 other Indian or non-Indian women who end up as battered wives," Mehta told IANS.

The director says she has been inspired by countless sources for the movie, which has Preity Zinta playing the female lead.

"I was as much taken up by Aman Deep's case as I was with Mona Gill, another wife who came to Canada with dreams in her eyes and ended up with nightmares on her body. I'm also inspired by Roddy Doyle's novel 'The Woman Who Walked Into Doors'.

"And I'm hugely inspired by Girish Karnad's play 'Naga Mandala'. In fact I've acknowledged Girish's play in the credit titles," she said.

As for the battered wives, "How many of them can I acknowledge? The collective conscience of the entire universe of repressed women underlines the narration of 'Heaven On Earth' ".

Mehta had the film's first preview recently in Toronto and was happy with the audience response.

"There was pin-drop silence after the film. Though I've kept the violence largely out of camera range, it's a very disturbing film. And a lot of people who know Preity Zinta's work couldn't recognize her!"

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