Deepa Mehta's controversial and critically acclaimed Water will finally have an Indian release next month.

The news was confirmed by Water's Indian distributor Ravi Chopra of BR Films, which made television show Mahabharata and feature films Baghban and Baabul. 'We have started work on the release strategy and should have a plan in place for a February release soon,' he said. Over 100 prints will be released in India's major cities including Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta, with a plan to expand into smaller markets over ensuing months.

Mehta's Hindi language film ran into trouble when the shoot in Varanasi was aborted after local political interests objected to the content of the film. The project was later resurrected and shot in Sri Lanka with a new cast (Lisa Ray, Seema Biswas, John Abraham) and under the pseudonym River Moon.

Mehta's first feature from her trilogy, Fire, also met with violent response and had to be pulled out of theatres. Said Mehta of Water's release, 'I'm thrilled that the film will finally be able to be seen by Indian audiences. After the experience with Fire, where theatres were burned down in protest, I was worried about whether any distributor would be willing to show Water. That Ravi Chopra is willing to take the chance heartens me and gives me hope.'

Set in 1938, in the widow homes of the northern Indian town of Varanasi, Water was released by Fox Searchlight in the US in April 2006 and went on to become the highest grossing Hindi-language drama ever released in North America.

The award winning film has so far gathered three Genie Awards (Canada's Oscars) and the Best Director (Deepa Mehta) and Best Actress (Lisa Ray) awards at the 2005 Vancouver Film Critics Awards.

Water is unique in being a Hindi language film selected by Canada as its official entry to the Oscars to compete for this year's Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.