Hyphen magazine - Asian American arts, culture, and politics


Shooting Water: A Memoir of Second Chances, Family and Filmmaking

Shooting Water: A Memoir of Second Chances, Family and Filmmaking (Newmarket Press)

Devyani Saltzman

Coming of age is never easy. Especially when your life brings you up close and personal with the sharp edges between two parents, cultures and religions. In Shooting Water, Saltzman writes with a rawness that will make you embarrassed for her and then humbled by how honestly she explores and grows from her insecurities. The memoir begins in 1999 when Saltzman decides to accompany her mother, filmmaker Deepa Mehta, to the holy Indian city of Varanasi to assist with the production of Mehta's controversial film Water, about the plight of widows in colonial India. The planned three-month shoot was going to be the longest time Saltzman spent with her mother since her parents' divorce when she was 11, when Saltzman chose to live with her father-a Jewish Canadian photographer. Instead, Hindu fundamentalists shut down the movie one week into production. The subsequent five-year struggle to produce Water is the backdrop for Saltzman's multi-layered narrative, which chronicles her relationship with her mother with honesty and clarity. In the meantime, Saltzman falls in love, hits the crash of heartbreak, and goes to Oxford. Four years later, Saltzman rejoins the film crew in Sri Lanka as the film's still photographer. Saltzman's photographic eye serves her well. She writes her memoir eloquently, translating her journey into adulthood with a memorable, poetic and political lens. -Kirthi Nath

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