Profession: Filmmaker, Producer, Screenwriter
Age: 72 Years
|Physical Stats & More|
|Height (approx.)||in centimeters- 165 cm
in meters- 1.65 m
in feet & inches- 5’ 5”
• Director: Martha, Ruth and Edie (1988)
• Producer: Martha, Ruth and Edie (1988)
• Writer: Fire (1996)
• Actor: Jurm (1990) as 'cameo'
• Director: Spread Your Wings (1976–1981) (4 episodes)
• Executive Producer: Spread Your Wings (1976–1981) (13 episodes)
• Writer: Spread Your Wings (1976–1981) (episode "Child of the Andes")
• Actor: For the Record (1983) as 'Ranjeet Singh' (episode "Reasonable Force")
• Director: At 99: A Portrait of Louise Tandy Murch (1975)
• Producer: K.Y.T.E.S: How We Dream Ourselves (1986)
• Writer: K.Y.T.E.S: How We Dream Ourselves (1986)
|Awards, Honours, Achievements||For Anatomy of Violence
• Outstanding Achievement in International Cinema by Washington DC South Asian Film Festival in 2016.
For Beeba Boys
• Clyde Gilmour Award by Toronto Film Critics Association Awards in 2015
For Midnight’s Children
• DGC Team Award – Feature Film by Directors Guild of Canada in 2013
For Heaven on Earth
• Muhr AsiaAfrica Award: Best Scriptwriter – Feature by Dubai International Film Festival in 2008
• Outstanding Achievement in International Cinema by Awards of the International Indian Film Academy in 2007
• Silver Mirror Award – Best Feature by Oslo Films from the South Festival in 2006
• Humanitarian Award by New York Film Critics in 2006
• Audience Award – Best Narrative Feature by San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival in 2006
• Arte Award by Taormina International Film Festival in 2006
• Best Director – Canadian Film by Vancouver Film Critics Circle in 2006
• Best Foreign Movie by or About Women by Women Film Critics Circle Awards in 2006
• Honorary Director Award by Toronto Female Eye Film Festival in 2005
• Youth Jury Award by Valladolid International Film Festival in 2005
• DGC Team Award – Feature Film by Directors Guild of Canada in 2003
• Best Screenplay, Original by Genie Awards in 2003
• Student Jury Award by Newport International Film Festival in 2003
• Audience Award – Best Comedy by Sarasota Film Festival in 2003
• Best Feature Film by Paris Lesbian and Feminist Film Festival in 1997
• Outstanding Narrative Feature by L.A. Outfest in 1997
• Best Film by Verona Love Screens Film Festival in 1997
• Special Prize of the Jury by Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival in 1996
• Most Popular Canadian Film by Vancouver International Film Festival in 1996
Miscellaneous Awards and Honours
• Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film (2007 Academy Awards)
• Honorary doctorates from five Canadian universities
• Named one of Canada’s Top 100 most powerful women (Women’s Executive Network, 2011)
• Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award Winner (2009)
• Global Leadership Award by Indian International Film Awards in 2011
• Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement in 2012
• Named to the Order of Ontario and appointed to the Order of Canada in 2013
• Inducted into the Canadian Walk of Fame in 2016
• Lifetime Achievement Award at the Canadian Screen Awards (2019) in Toronto
• The Life of Distinction Award from the Canadian Centre of Diversity (2011)
• The Excellence in the Arts Award from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (2011)
• YWCA Women of Distinction Award (2008)
|Date of Birth||1 January 1950 (Sunday)|
|Age (as of 2022)||72 Years|
|Birthplace||Amritsar, Punjab, India|
|School||Welham Girls High School, Dehradun|
|College/University||Degree in Hindu Philosophy from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, University of Delhi|
|Educational Qualification||Graduation in Hindu Philosophy Governor General's Performing Arts Awards|
|Religious Views||Talking about the beauty of Hinduism in an interview, she said,
"Hinduism didn’t start as a religion. It started as a philosophy. It’s a way of life. Whether you go from Shankara-chariya to Ramanuja… the charvaka school… the yoga school or any of the other Hindu schools of thought. You had the charvakas who were totally- who came out as a reaction to the Brahmanical [philosophy]. There has always been an antithesis or a questionmark, and Hindu philosophy has always been one that has questioned itself and realized that only by changing, by evolving, can a way of thinking, or a way of thought or a philosophy flourish. That’s the beauty of Hinduism.” Cinemalogue
|Food Habit||Non-Vegetarian Vancouver Sun|
|Controversies||• After the release of her controversial film Fire, she was labelled anti-national by some enraged fundamentalists and her effigy was burned in order to show resentment. The New York Times
• The production of her film Water was put on hold till 4 years because protestors took to the streets, burned the sets, threatened the actors and even Deepa Mehta. After 4 years, the film finally began its production in Sri Lanka under the fake name 'Full Moon' The New York Times
|Relationships & More|
|Marriage Date||1970 (with Canadian documentarian, Paul Saltzman)|
|Spouse||• First Husband: Paul Saltzman (m.1970 - div. 1983)
• Second Husband: David Hamilton
Devyani Saltzman (from first husband)
|Parents||Father- Satwinder Mehta (film distributor)
|Siblings||Brother- Dilip Mehta (Indo-Canadian photojournalist)
Cousin Sister- Ritu Kumar (Fashion Designer)
Some Lesser Known Facts About Deepa Mehta
- Deepa Mehta is a prolific Indo-Canadian filmmaker, screenwriter and producer. She is the co-founder of Hamilton-Mehta Productions. She is best known for making movies on sensitive issues of society. She is an internationally acclaimed filmmaker and her movies are played at almost all the major international film festivals. Hamilton-Mehta Productions
- She was born in Amritsar, which is about 28 km away from the border of Pakistan. She grew up watching and learning the after-effects and impact of the partition of India. In an interview, Deepa said,
Even when I was growing up in Amritsar, we used to go every weekend to Lahore, so I just grew up around people who talked about it incessantly and felt it was one of the most horrific sectarian wars they knew of.”
- She shifted to Delhi with her family in her childhood.
- Her father worked as a film distributor in Delhi which is why she grew up watching Indian commercial cinema. The Canadian Encyclopedia
- Later. during her college life, Deepa started watching Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Non-Hindi cinema and Non-Japanese cinema. She even got exposure with directors like Truffaut, Godard, Ozu and Mizoguchi.
- After completing college, Mehta began working for a production company that made documentaries for the Indian government. The Canadian Encyclopedia
- When Deepa was directing her first film which was based on a child bride, she met Canadian filmmaker, Paul Saltzman. They got married in 1970 and moved together to Toronto, Canada in 1973, where they co-founded the production house, Sunrise Films. The Canadian Encyclopedia
- Soon after, the couple welcomed their daughter, Devyani Saltzman, who is an author and a critic.
- Deepa made several documentaries and a tv series titled ‘Spread Your Wings’ (1977–79) under her production house, with her husband Paul and her brother, Dilip Mehta who is an Indo-Canadian photojournalist best known for his coverage of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.
- Deepa Mehta divorced her then-husband, Paul Saltzman in 1983 and got married to Canadian film producer, David Hamilton, who holds an MBA from Harvard University. The Canadian Encyclopedia
- Mehta then began making the Elements Trilogy, which turned out to be one of her most talked-about pieces of work. The Element Trilogy included 3 films titled, Fire (1996), Earth (1998), and Water (2005). These films were provocative and brought forward the taboo topics of society.
- The film Fire (1996), was one of a kind and depicted a lesbian relationship between two housewives, who were shown as Hindu sisters-in-law. Once released, the film made Deepa face the rage and wrath of some fundamentalists who burnt her effigies and theatres in order to protest against it. The New York Times
- Fire (1996) not only received outrage but also immense appreciation and awards. It was a transnational production with non-Canadian actors, speaking a language other than English or French and despite all these facts, it opened the Perspective Canada program at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and won the award for Most Popular Canadian Film at the Vancouver International Film Festival. Some other awards won by this movie, include ‘Best Feature Film by Paris Lesbian and Feminist Film Festival’ (1997), ‘Outstanding Narrative Feature by L.A. Outfest’ (1997), ‘Best Film by Verona Love Screens Film Festival’ (1997), and ‘Special Prize of the Jury by Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival’ (1996).
- The second film of the trilogy, Earth (1998) showcased the uprooting of families during the partition of India. It was based on Bapsi Sidwa’s novel, Cracking India, which was about the largest forced migration in the history of mankind.
- She then made two other movies, Bollywood/Hollywood (2002) and The Republic of Love (2003), before making the final part of her Elements Trilogy, Water (2005). The making of this movie was nothing but a steep uphill journey for Deepa. The movie was supposed to be shot in the Western Ghats of India, precisely, Varanasi, but the extremists destroyed the production of the movie by breaking the sets, threatening the actors and even Deepa Mehta. This resulted in the delay of 4 years in the making of the movie. At last, Deepa decided to recreate the Ghats in Sri Lanka and shot her movie there under the false name ‘Full Moon’. The New York Times
- Despite the protests, the movie released in 2005, which was about the conservative rituals of shunning the widows of hot meals, the right to re-marry, and basically the right to live life happily. The film was internationally acclaimed and was nominated for 9 Genie Awards (winning three) and an Academy for Best Foreign Language film.
- After the success of Water (2005), Deepa kept her focus on making women-centric films like ‘The Forgotten Woman’ (2008) and ‘Heaven on Earth’ (2008).
- Deepa Mehta made Midnight’s Children (2012), an adaptation of a celebrated novel by Salman Rushdie. This movie was about two children born at the dawn of the Independence of India, and their story of how they were exchanged at the time of their birth. It was premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and got nominated for 8 Canadian Screen Awards nominations.