For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
By Susitha R. Fernando
The ongoing shooting of Oscar nominated director Deepa Mehta’s latest film, based on multi-award-winning bestseller novel ‘Midnight’s Children’ by Salman Rushdie, in Sri Lanka is in limbo, sources connected to the film said. The shooting scheduled for yesterday was suddenly stopped and the cast and crew were turned back without any reason given. The cast and crew which went to the location yesterday had been informed that shooting had been ‘shut down’, sources said.However, when contacted, Errol Kelly, Production Designer of ‘The Film Team’ Pvt. Limited, the company handling the film in Sri Lanka, denied that shooting was shut down, and said it was stopped for a four-day holiday. It is learnt that negotiations are going on to resume shooting which has been scheduled till April this year.
The film producers are reportedly carrying out discussions on continuing shooting in Sri Lanka. In the late 1990s a BBC attempt to film a five-part mini-series of the novel in Sri Lanka had to be abandoned due to political pressure from certain groups. On that occasion the filming permit was revoked and the project was cancelled. The movie features a star cast comprising Shabana Azmi, Irrfan Khan, Soha Ali Khan, Nandita Das, Chandan Roy Sanyal and Seema Biswas. The film is being shot in Sri Lanka because Mehta has sworn off India following her nightmare experience shooting Water at Varanasi locations. Water was subsequently shot in Sri Lanka.