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Indian movies will remain key part of trimmer Toronto film festival

Indian cinema will be continue to be a key part of this year’s trimmer and tighter Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), North America’s premier movie showcase.

hollywood Updated: Sep 05, 2017 18:16 IST
Anirudh Bhattacharyya
Anirudh Bhattacharyya
Hindustan Times, Toronto
Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF),artistic director Cameron Bailey,Paakhi Tyrewala’s Pahuna: The Little Visitors
A still from Paakhi Tyrewala’s film Pahuna which will have its world premiere at TIFF.(Courtesy TIFF)

The 42nd edition of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), North America’s premier movie showcase, will be trimmer and tighter. But there’s a message for those like independent filmmakers from India, for whom this has proven a valuable global launch platform: “Don’t panic!”

There will be about 60 fewer films in the 2017 version of TIFF, compared to the previous year, but its artistic director Cameron Bailey said, “Reducing the size of the festival doesn’t mean we will be paying any less attention to Indian cinema.”

Bailey programmes the Indian films himself and is enthralled by the industry. “We’ve reduced the lineup overall. But we’re being very careful about maintaining a good international mix of films. India’s a region that is of particular importance to us,” he said in an interview.

A still from Rima Das’ film Village Rockstars which will have its world premiere at TIFF (Courtesy TIFF)

There are other factors playing to India’s advantage, as Bailey pointed to “just the range that’s coming out so we’ll always want to select as many as we can from there”.

Another factor is the location, with its large Indo-Canadian population: “There’s an audience in Toronto that’s keenly interested – some who have roots in India and some who don’t, who just follow Indian cinema. We’re now beginning to get a lot of interest in the independent films, some of which are coming out of Mumbai but also coming out of other places as well.”

TIFF’s artistic director Cameron Bailey. (Courtesy TIFF)

Among the Indian films at TIFF this year will be three directed by women who will be making their debuts, all with world premieres. A special event will feature Paakhi Tyrewala’s Pahuna: The Little Visitors. Also screening will be Bornila Chatterjee’s The Hungry, a special presentation.

A still from Rima Das’ film Village Rockstars which will have its world premiere at TIFF. (Courtesy TIFF)

Finally, Rima Das’s Village Rockstars will figure in the Discovery section. Das was elated at having her sophomore project premiering at TIFF, as she said, “This is my turning point, I believe. This is the big moment I was waiting for for the last four years.”

Das had shown Bailey a rough cut of the film during one of his multiple visits to Mumbai, and the movie was among the final few selected for the festival.

She described the film, set in Assam, as “very personal”, one that was completely “self-made” and stars local children.

A still from Bornila Chatterjee’s film The Hungry which will have its world premiere at TIFF. (Courtesy TIFF)

A couple of TIFF veterans will return this year. Anurag Kashyap’s The Brawler or Mukkabaaz will be an attraction, while Hansal Mehta’s Omerta is expected to be a provocative presentation.

As in previous years, India will continue having a significant presence at the festival, including at the launch fund-raising event, the TIFF Soiree, which will feature Priyanka Chopra.

Bailey’s personal interest in Indian films makes a difference, as he said, “To me it’s the most exciting film country in the world because everybody that I’ve ever met in India is interested in cinema.”

First Published: Sep 05, 2017 18:16 IST