Deepa Mehta Prepares Women-Centric ‘Get Out’ Style Horror Film

Indo-Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta’s next film is a “Get Out”-style supernatural thriller, she revealed on Tuesday.

Speaking at a virtual event organized by Indian socio-cultural organization, the Prabha Khaitan Foundation, Mehta said, “There’s a horror film that I’m working on, which I’m so intrigued about because it’s like ‘Get Out,’ a supernatural thriller, which actually is about women.”

Mehta is also developing Madhuri Vijay’s award-winning 2019 novel “The Far Field” as one of her next projects with Huma Qureshi, the star of her Netflix series “Leila.”

“The Far Field” traces the journey of a woman from Bengaluru to the troubled Kashmir region in quest of a lost figure from her childhood. It won the 2019 JCB Prize for literature. Mehta say the novel adaptation will take some time.

Mehta’s “Funny Boy,” based on Sri Lankan-Canadian author Shyam Selvadurai’s 1994 Lambda-winning coming-of-age novel explores a gay love story against the backdrop of conflict between Sri Lanka’s Sinhala and Tamil communities.

Despite positive reviews for the film, Mehta received some flak due to a limited Tamil representation. “In Sri Lanka, to be gay is still a criminal offence; it’s a very brave novel,” Mehta said during the event. “Shyam, if he has any regrets, is that how ever much he tried to get a Tamil person to direct it, nobody came forward to option the book. Now he loves the film and has made me an honorary Tamil.”

Selvadurai is of mixed Tamil-Sinhala heritage.

“Funny Boy” was briefly Canada’s entry in the Oscars’ international feature category until the Academy deemed it ineligible due to the amount of English-language dialogue in the film. It bowed on Netflix in select territories and was distributed in the U.S. by Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY Releasing. The film is now competing in the best picture and other categories at the Academy Awards.

Mehta was also asked about the possibility of further episodes of her Netflix show “Leila” (2019), which was based on a dystopian novel by Prayaag Akbar. “It was very true to the India of today, even though it is supposed to be dystopian,” Mehta said. “I think that there’s no way that Netflix India, which has changed radically — I’m not saying for the better or worse, I think it’s just, everything changes — there’s no way they would touch it. So sadly not: no ‘Leila’ for Netflix.”

Alice G. Collins

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