Heaven on Earth (film)

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Heaven on Earth
Heaven On Earth.jpg
Movie Poster for Heaven On Earth.
Directed by Deepa Mehta
Produced by Deepa Mehta
Ravi Chopra
David Hamilton
Written by Deepa Mehta
Starring Preity Zinta
Vansh Bhardwaj
Music by Mychael Danna
Cinematography Giles Nuttgens
Edited by Colin Monie
Distributed by Hamilton-Mehta Productions Inc.
National Film Board of Canada
Release dates
  • 24 October 2008 (2008-10-24)
Running time 106 min
Country Canada
India
Language English
Punjabi

Heaven on Earth a.k.a. Videsh is a 2008 Canadian film directed and written by Deepa Mehta. Preity Zinta plays the leading role of Chand, a young Indian Punjabi woman who finds herself in an abusive arranged marriage with an Indo-Canadian man, played by theatre actor Vansh Bhardwaj. The film released in India dubbed into Hindi under the title Videsh.

Plot[edit]

Vibrant Chand (Preity Zinta) is a young bride leaving her home in Ludhiana,Punjab India, for Brampton, Ontario, where her husband Rocky (Vansh Bhardwaj) and his very traditional family await her arrival. Everything is new and unfamiliar to Chand including the quiet and shy Rocky who she meets for the first time at the Arrivals level of Pearson Airport. Chand approaches her new life and land with equanimity and grace, and at times the wide-eyed optimism of hope—her first snowfall is a tiny miracle of beauty, and the roar of Niagara Falls creates the excitement of new beginnings.

But soon optimism turns to isolation as the family she has inherited struggles beneath the weight of unspoken words, their collective frustration becoming palpable. No one feels the pressure more than Rocky, weighed down by familial obligations. A controlling mother who can’t let him go, a sweet but ineffectual father, and a sister whose two children and unemployed husband are also a burden. All live with Rocky and Chand in a two-bedroom house in the suburbs of Toronto. To make matters worse, Rocky is expected to find the money to bring his extended family to Canada. Unable to express his anger, he finds other ways to release it and it’s Chand who bears the brunt of his repressed rage.

Trapped in a world she cannot comprehend and unable to please her husband, Chand is desperate. Hope comes in the form of Rosa (Yanna McIntosh), a tough and savvy Jamaican woman who works alongside Chand in a factory where immigrant women from all over the world clean and press dirty hotel laundry. Rosa sees past the make-up that covers Chand’s bruised face. Realizing Chand has nowhere to turn, Rosa gives her a magical root advising her “to put it in whatever the bastard drinks.” The root is supposed to seduce the one who takes it, making them fall hopelessly in love with the person who gives it to them. Chand’s attempts with the magic root lead to surreal incidents and her life gradually begins to mirror an Indian fable involving a King Cobra. As the lines between fantasy and reality converge, Chand and Rocky come face to face with each other and themselves. Eventually, Chand comprehends all the surreal episodes in her life and upon separation from her husband decides to go back to India.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Deepa Mehta penned the screenplay in 2007.[2] She met Preity Zinta at the 2007 International Indian Film Academy Awards and offered her the role of a Punjabi housewife. Initially, Zinta could not commit to the project due to schedule conflicts, but they were worked out and Zinta signed on to play the role.[2] Seema Biswas, who was part of Mehta's previous project Water was also chosen to be part of the cast,[1] but she eventually did not act. Mehta, who saw The Last Lear (2007) starring Zinta in the lead female role, said "I think Preity is perfect!". Yet she organized an acting workshop for Zinta in Toronto, which Zinta attended in September "to understand and come to grips with the character's milieu and body language. I think Preity can look very, very Punjabi." said Mehta.[2]

Principal photography for Heaven on Earth commenced in November 2007 and concluded at the end of December 2007. The film was primarily shot in Toronto and Brampton,[3] Canada, with additional location shooting in Punjab, India, where it was completed.[4][5][6]

Reception[edit]

The film was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, the Edmonton International Film Festival, and the Kingston Canadian Film Festival. It was released in select Canadian theatres on 24 October 2008 to generally mixed reviews. In India the film generated little notice or discussion and received mostly negative reviews upon release, though Preity Zinta was universally praised for her portrayal, which several critics considered her best. Sukanya Verma of Rediff.com rated the film 2/5 stars, concluding, "Watch Videsh for Preity Zinta".[7]

Awards[edit]

Won
Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c CBC news (7 September 2007). Mehta set to shoot feature Heaven on Earth. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Accessed 1 October 2007.
  2. ^ a b c K Jha, Subhash (26 September 2007).Deepa Mehta signs Preity for Heaven On Earth. indiaFM.com. Accessed 1 October 2007.
  3. ^ "Mehta's film resonates with Indian women". The Star (Toronto). 4 November 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2010. 
  4. ^ TNN (8 December 2007). Preity cries for home. Times of India. Accessed 13 December 2007.
  5. ^ ApunKaChoice (27 December 2007). "Preity Zinta in Punjab for 'Heaven On Earth'". Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  6. ^ Indo-Asian News Service (22 January 2008). "Deepa Mehta loves 'excessive work'". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  7. ^ Verma, Sukanya (2009-03-27). "Watch Videsh for Preity Zinta". Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  8. ^ http://www.chicagofilmfestival.org/cgi-bin/WebObjects/CIFFSite.woa/wa/pages/Awards%202008
  9. ^ Webmaster (January 18, 2010). "Stardust Awards 2010 Nominations". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 18 January 2010. 
  10. ^ "The Vancouver Critics Noms". Awards Daily. 5 January 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 

External links[edit]