Saltzman, Devyani 1979-

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Saltzman, Devyani 1979-


Born 1979, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; daughter of Deepa Mehta (a filmmaker). Education: Oxford University, graduated.


Agent—Samantha Haywood, Transatlantic Literary Agency, 72 Glengowan Rd., Toronto, Ontario M4N 1G4, Canada; Henry Dunow, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency, 27 W. 20th St., Ste. 1107, New York, NY.


Author and freelance writer. Has also worked as a photojournalist.


Young Professionals International internship grant.


Shooting "Water": A Mother-Daughter Journey and the Making of a Film, afterword by mother, Deepa Mehta, Kay Porter Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2005, published as Shooting "Water": A Memoir of Second Chances, Family, and Filmmaking, Newmarket Press (New York, NY), 2006.


Devyani Saltzman is a writer and former photojournalist based in Canada. The daughter of a Jewish Ukrainian father and a Hindi Indian mother (the noted writer, director, and filmmaker Deepa Mehta), Saltzman "grew up … between her parents' worlds," observed a Kirkus Reviews critic. Her father had always been the more affectionate parent, and when her parents divorced when she was eleven years old, Saltzman opted to go with her father, "a decision that forever wounded her loving but distant mother," noted the Kirkus Reviews contributor. In Shooting "Water": A Mother-Daughter Journey and the Making of a Film, published in the United States as Shooting "Water": A Memoir of Second Chances, Family, and Filmmaking, Saltzman recounts her attempts to reconcile and reconnect with her mother while serving as part of the film crew of Mehta's movie Water. The film, a period drama about Hindu widows in Benares, India, caused considerable stir among the local Hindus, and Mehta and her crew experienced considerable conflict and interruptions from the locals. Saltzman, meanwhile, acted as an untrained third assistant cameraman, trying to learn as much about filmmaking as possible from her accomplished mother. Romance with a fellow crew member also sparks, even as Saltzman realizes that the object of her affection would not be a good choice for her. The movie crew is eventually forced out of India, and Saltzman goes on to academic studies at Oxford. Five years later, the production resumes in Sri Lanka, where Saltzman and Mehta work ever more earnestly at repairing their relationship.

A "wonderful mother-daughter story evolves" as Saltzman tells of the film's tumultuous production in India, commented a reviewer in California Bookwatch. Within her narrative, Saltzman does not lose control of "any of the threads she delicately weaves together, creating a lush, evocative memoir that is emotional but never cloying," concluded a Publishers Weekly critic. Elizabeth Brinkley, writing in Library Journal, remarked that Saltzman's "precise, elegant prose continually rises above the typical journey-intowomanhood memoir" in a work that Brinkley called "a masterpiece of the memoir form."

Saltzman told CA: "Philip Gourevitch's book on Rwanda really influenced me when I read it at seventeen. He took a serious piece of political nonfiction and made it so human and accessible. In terms of process, I find it's all about discipline and suspending self-judgement.

"What I love about reading is the experience of feeling someone you have never met has expressed a moment that you have lived, but have never known how to put into words. If a reader connects with my work on that level, I'm happy."



Saltzman, Devyani, Shooting "Water": A Memoir of Second Chances, Family, and Filmmaking, New-market Press (New York, NY), 2006.


Biography, winter, 2006, Angela Baldassarre, review of Shooting "Water," p. 246.

California Bookwatch, June, 2006, review of Shooting "Water".

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2006, review of Shooting "Wate,r" p. 78.

Library Journal, May 15, 2006, Elizabeth Brinkley, review of Shooting "Water," p. 107.

Publishers Weekly, February 6, 2006, review of Shooting "Water," p. 55; March 6, 2006, review of Shooting "Water," p. 38.


Devyani Saltzman Home Page, (September 29, 2006).