CFP, Edited anthology entitled Deepa Mehta’s Cinematic Creations

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Call for Papers
October 30, 2017
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Asian History / Studies, Canadian History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Film and Film History

CALL FOR PAPERS (Edited Anthology entitled Deepa Mehta’s Cinematic Creations)

Deepa Mehta’s cinematic creations span social realities, literary narratives, history; and allude to Indian or Canadian or Indo-Canadian experiences. Her representations of cultures, women’s lives, history and society are extraordinarily phenomenal because of the choice of unusual themes that are both relevant and at times marginalized (like the plot she elects for Water). The choice of such themes ineluctably situates her among brilliant international film-makers for creating works of art that are incredibly unique and significantly relevant.

Mehta directed a documentary film on widows in 2008 titled The Forgotten Woman suggesting her commitment to the cause of women’s issues and the drawing of the attention of people to widows who are sidelined in Indian society. Heaven on Earth (2008) showed the tribulations of a Punjabi woman married to an Indo-Canadian man. The protagonist coming from India, is helpless in the hostland, Canada; and yet again Deepa Mehta chooses a subject that draws attention to the challenges of women, prejudices against them and their treatment by society.

Her famous work includes the production of the trilogy Elements. The films were Fire, Earth and Water. Fire (1996) for the first time in India portrayed homosexual relations on screen. This work was based on Ismat Chughtai’s Lihaaf (The Quilt) written in 1942. The second of the trilogy was 1947: Earth (2008), the theme of which was the partition history of India--an event that evokes images of terrible mayhem and destruction in Indian history. The final of the trilogy was Water (2005) that probed the lives of widows in a Varanasi ashram. Exclusion (2014) rendered the dilemma and challenges of Indians who travelled in Komagata Maru ship and arrived on the shores of Vancouver, British Columbia. This subject has been widely dealt with in a variety of artistic representations and particularly literature. Sam and Me (1991) was Deepa Mehta’s debut movie that showed the association between an Indian immigrant and elderly Jewish man. This movie was fascinating for the layers and complexities of culture that it exemplified, in the framework of intercultural negotiations. Camilla (1994) was dedicated to Jessica Tandy and explored the relationship between two women and the negotiations of their past and present circumstances. Bollywood/Hollywood (2002) features several Bollywood style song and dance and makes fun through allusions to both Hollywood and Bollywood. Carol Shield’s novel inspires Deepa Mehta’s The Republic of Love. Mehta’ Midnight Children (2012) was based on the plot on the novel of Salman Rushdie and naturally showed India as represented by Rushdie in his celebrated work. Beeba Boys (2015) is a crime thriller whose protagonist is an Indo-Canadian. The most recent The Anatomy of Violence (2016) addressed the subject of the 2012 Delhi gang rape incident. The film highlighted how women are victimized both physically and psychologically in contemporary society and questioned cultural prejudices and their role in downgrading women and perpetuating violence against women. All these movies deal with variegated themes and offer scope to examine the relationship between movies and society, history, literature, people, culture AND life itself. This edited anthology titled Deepa Mehta’s Cinematic Creations, seeks to address the subjects that Deepa Mehta chooses in her artistic endeavours. Some of the questions that authors can consider are:

  • What are Deepa Mehta’s thematic preoccupations and how do they represent India/Canada before the world?
  • How are women’s issues portrayed in Mehta’s movies? What are their implications on feminist interpretations?
  • How does history intervene in her work?
  • How are literature and cinema negotiated in her work?
  • How are geographies represented and what role do they play in Deepa Mehta’s movies?

These questions are of course not exhaustive and contributors can consider the numerous ways in which Mehta represents culture and society about India and Canada.

Abstracts of 250 words are due on October 30th 2017. Proposals may be sent to

Invitations to contribute papers will be sent on November 30th 2017.