One of the most provocative and exciting new directors to make her mark on world cinema at the turn of the millennium, Deepa Mehta is known for her rich, complex explorations of the cultural taboos and tensions at play in the society of her native India. Beginning with 1996's controversial Fire, Mehta embarked on her ambitious trilogy of the elements: fire, earth, and water. Earth, the trilogy's second installment, was released in 1998.
Born in India in 1950, Mehta received a degree in philosophy from the University of New Delhi. After immigrating to Canada in 1973, she embarked on her professional cinematic career as a scriptwriter for children's films, and in 1991, she made her feature-film debut as a director and producer with Sam & Me. The story of an unlikely friendship between a Muslim boy and an old Jewish man -- and the familial disapproval it engenders -- Sam & Me won the first Honorable Mention in the Camera d'Or category of the 1991 Cannes Festival. Mehta followed this triumph with Camilla three years later; another story of an unlikely friendship (this time between an unsatisfied young wife [Bridget Fonda] and a free-spirited old lady [Jessica Tandy]), it had the primary distinction of being Jessica Tandy's penultimate movie.