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When filmmaker Deepa Mehta tried to make her film Water, about widows in her native India who are considered worthless without a husband to borrow status from, she was met with angry protests, death threats, government intervention, and a movie set that was lit on fire by an angry mob. Demonstrators felt Mehta, who lives in Canada, was casting India in a negative light. A fascinating story in and of itself, the tale of the film (which we're showing at the Walker in March) includes this reference to a profession I never knew existed:
One key protester had taken a boat out into the middle of the Ganges, consumed poison, tied a rock around his waist, and jumped into the water, yelling that Deepa Mehta and her film were his reason for attempting suicide. Days later the press revealed that the man, who was rushed to the hospital and survived, was a professional suicide attempter, employed by various political parties to attempt his own execution for various political reasons. This had been his sixth suicide attempt, and this was the reason given for closing the film down. Law and order was in jeopardy.

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