By Gurmukh Singh
TORONTO: Sridevi starrer English Vinglish, directed by Gauri Shinde, will have its world premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the organizers announced Tuesday.
Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children, based on Salman Rushdie’s novel, will be another Indian-made film that will have its world premiere at the festival here from September 6 to 16.
Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist will have its North American premiere at the festival.
“More Indian films from mainstream Bollywood and independent filmmakers will be announced in the coming days,’’ said Cameron Bailey, artistic director for the festival.
Apart from the two Indian films, the festival will also feature Mumbai in its City to City section.
The two Indian films are among 38 films which will have their world premiere at the 37th edition of the TIFF. In all, there will be 17 gala and 45 special presentations.
English Vinglish is a comeback film for Sridevi who last acted in Judaai in 1997.
Produced by R. Balki and Eros Entertainment, the film has a cameo by the Big B which he did for free of cost.
Praising the former Bollywood queen, Cameron Bailey said since many people have not seen Sridevi, it will be a great opportunity for film lovers in Toronto to see and meet one of the great actresses from Indian cinema.
“English Vinglish is a terrific film with an alternative theme…it has a very empowering message. And the film is directed by a woman also – so this year, we have two Indian films and both are directed by women,’’ said Bailey.
Justifying the selection of English Vinglish, TIFF said, “Money, fame and a knowledge of English. In India, these 3 factors play a huge role in how society judges an individual. English Vinglish is the story of Shashi, a woman who does not know English and in turn is made to feel insecure by her family and society at large.
“The film is the lighthearted yet touching and transformational journey of Shashi. Circumstances make her determined to overcome this insecurity, master the language, teach the world a lesson on the way to becoming a self assured and confident woman. This film marks the comeback of India’s biggest female star, Sridevi.’’
Midnight’s Children director Deepa Mehta and a few members of the cast were also present at Tuesday’s announcements by TIFF.
About the selection of Mumbai to be spotlighted at this year’s festival, Bailey said, “Many people don’t know that a great transition is taking place in Bollywood. It is not just the old Bollywood masala… a lot of independent filmmakers such as Anurag Kashyap and Dibakar Banerjee are making a big impact in Bollywood by dealing with tough social issues…’’