Many India-themed movies in world’s largest single-day film festival
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Many India-themed movies in world’s largest single-day film festival

A special film festival to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary - billed as the world’s biggest single day film festival - will showcase several movies having India and Indo-Canadian themes.

world Updated: May 12, 2017 16:42 IST
A still from director Deepa Mehta’s film Midnight’s Children, which will screen at the Canadian National Film Day.(HT Photo)

Promoted as the “world’s biggest film festival – ever”, National Canadian Film Day 150 will feature exactly that number of films, with as many as 1,700 screenings across the country and other places in the world on April 19. And a bunch of those films have India and Indo-Canadian themes.

Predictably, leading Indo-Canadian director Deepa Mehta enjoys pride of place in the pack with four of her projects on show.

The one-day festival, an initiative of the non-profit Reel Canada and supported by the Canadian government, will mark the 150th year of the country becoming a confederation.

Logo of the Canadian National Film Day 150. (HT Photo)

The films directed by Deepa Mehta include Fire (1996), Bollywood/Hollywood (2002), Water (2005) and her adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children (2012).

“Showcasing ALL Canadian films on April 19th is such a great way of celebrating Canada’s 150th Anniversary. I am thrilled that my films are a part of this endeavour. The fact that the films are in Hindi makes it an important nod towards celebrating our diversity,” Mehta reacted in an email.

Director Deepa Mehta. Four of her films are featured at the Canadian National Film Day. (Courtesy

The Toronto-based director was particularly pleased that multiple films made by her will figure during this celebration of Canadian cinema: “It feels pretty cool and is quite unexpected. In fact I can’t stop (rather immodestly) grinning.”

Also part of the programme will be a pair of films from another noted director from Toronto, Sturla Gunnarsson, who was born in Iceland and is married to an Indo-Canadian. As with Mehta’s take on Rushdie’s epic, one of Gunnarsson’s films that will screen is focused on a novel by an author of Indian origin – Such A Long Journey (1998) is based on the book by Rohinton Mistry, who resides in the Greater Toronto Area.

Gunnarsson’s other film, Monsoon, is a visually gorgeous documentary that tracks the entire season from its onset in Kerala to its exit from India’s northeast.

A still from the documentary Monsoon, which will screen at the Canadian National Film Day. (HT Photo)

Other films located in India but made by Canadian filmmakers include two more documentaries. Director Elisa Paloschi’s Driving With Selvi (2015), looks at Selvi, who escapes an abusive marriage and, over time, turns into South India’s first female taxi driver. Also showing will be Toronto-based Nisha Pahuja’s The World Before Her, made in 2012.

A still from the film Breakaway, which will screen at the Canadian National Film Day. (HT Photo)

The major Indo-Canadian presence at the festival will come in the form of Breakaway, a mainstream comedy that stars actor Vinay Virmani (also the writer of the movie) and comedian Russell Peters. This 2011 release was a hit in Canada and deals with a Sikh youth with a passion for hockey, the version on ice and Canada’s national game.

First Published: Apr 18, 2017 20:31 IST