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July 7, 1999
Artisan To Release Earth
Arthur J Pais in New York
Deepa Mehta's Earth, which has been shown at a number of film festivals, and which premiered in the USA at the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival on June 12, will open in a handful of theaters across America in September.
Artisan, a well-regarded independent distributor, hopes to eventually show the film on more than 200 screens, considered a good number for small budget artistic films.
Mehta's previous film, Fire, which was released in North America before it got ensnared in controversies in India, grossed about $ 1 million here. But Fire, which became a cult favorite, was not a big success with Indian audiences here.
Artisan has stronger hopes for Earth. For one thing, Aamir Khan's presence is expected to draw more Indian American audiences to the film. Rahul Khanna, whose performance won him plaudits at the Toronto international film festival, is yet another draw.
The movie could potentially gross over $ 2 million, Suprotim Bose, a short film-maker says, unless it gets embroiled in controversies. The movie is based on a novel by Bapsi Sidhwa, a Pakistani writer, who lives and teaches in Houston.
Several Indian American community groups have been talking with Artisan to show the film as their fund-raising efforts.
Meanwhile, Udayan Prasad's critically acclaimed tragicomedy, My Son the Fanatic, starring Om Puri and Rachel Griffiths, got a mild reception at the box office in New York and Los Angeles during its first week.
But Miramax Films, its North American distributor, is expecting the film to build a loyal following. It also hopes the box-office will rise because of the number of raves it has received from newspapers such as The New York Times and USA Today, Newsday, Daily News and New York Post. Premiere magazine and Rolling Stone have also raved about the film.
The movie, which is on four screens now, is expected to be shown on over 20 screens by the end of July.
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