According to The Hollywood Reporter, a week before the launch of the Toronto International Film Festival, Fox Searchlight Pictures has acquired the opening-night film, screenwriter-director Deepa Mehta's Water. Announced by Fox Searchlight president Peter Rice, the film marks the third project in Mehta's elemental trilogy, which includes Fire and Earth.
Water, set in 1938 Colonial India during Mahatma Gandhi's rise to power, has been embroiled in controversy since its inception. The film was shut down in India in 2000 because of its negative portrayal of India. The production faced violent protests and riots by fundamentalist Hindus, and Mehta's life was threatened. It took nearly five years for the Indian filmmaker to produce in Sri Lanka under an assumed name and a shroud of secrecy.