TORONTO: Thanks to its City-to-City programme choosing Mumbai this year, the 37th Toronto International Film Festival – which kicked off here on Thursday – brings a harvest of Indian films.
Though there are more than half a dozen independent films makers whose films will be screened at the festival, the focus is on Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children, Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Sridevi’s come-back English Vinglish.
Curiously, since Gauri Shinde, wife of director R Balki, who makes her directorial debut with English Vinglish, all the top three Indian films at this year’s festival have been directed by women.
“Sridevi is a great actress, and everybody would like to see her and her film here,’’ says TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey.
Since the thrust of the films selected under the City-to-City programme is on independent filmmakers, barring Yash Raj studio’s Ishaqzaade no big banner film has made the cut. In fact, barring Ishaqzaade, there is no so-called masala film this year.
However, Bailey considers English Vinglish a masala film. “Isn’t it a masala film considering its story and script, though much of it was shot outside of India. It is a masala film,’’ Bailey says. But English Vinglish does’t come here under the City-to-City programme.
Sridevi will attend the premiere of her film as well as address a press conference on September 14.
Deepa Mehta’s film, which is an adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s famous novel, will have its world premiere which Rushdie is likely to attend.
Mira Nair’s ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’, which is also an adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s novel and premiered at Venice, features Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland and Liev Schreiber.
The 10 films chosen under the City-to-City programme include Mohit Takalkar’s The Bight Day, Manjeet Singh Mumbai’s King, Vasan Bala’s Peddlers, Hansal Mehta’s Shahid, Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur I & II, Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely and Anand Gandhi’s Ship of Theseus.
In fact, Ship of Theseus is the City-to-City night gala film. Almost all the independent directors are attending the festival.
As many as 283 feature films and 83 short films from 72 countries will be screened during the 37th festival which runs till September 16.