Deepa Mehta's Earth is a highly romantic, sensual work, telling an epic story with considerable contemporary relevance. Painted in rich colours, the slow pace and luxuriant feel of history's film classics are recalled in this modern epic, that illustrates how personal relationships - however close - can be torn assunder by political events.
Set in Lahore in 1947, on the eve of India's partition into Hindu and Muslim states at the fall of the British Raj, Earth tells the story of Lenny, a little girl from the intellectual parsee class (originally from Persia) and her beloved Ayah (or nanny) Shanta.
Shanta (Nandita Das) is a beautiful Hindu woman, attracting many suitors of different religious persuasions, and for a time, her admirers personify ethnic and religious tolerance. But history sweeps into the lives of Lenny, her affluent 'neutral' parents, and the young Ayah, forcing them to make painful choices about their allegiances.
Whilst a love story, earth is a meditation, both tragic, and deeply felt, on the coast of ethnic cleansing.