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TIFF and Indian Indies go Back a Long Way

admin   September 9, 2021

Serving as a launching platform for many Indian filmmakers in the past, the 46th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) continues to live up to our expectations by showcasing three Indian feature-length films by first-time directors

By Saibal Chatterjee

The 46thToronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which retains the hybrid format that was necessitated in 2020 by a rampaging pandemic, has three Indian feature-length films by first-time directors in an expanded programme that has significantly more titles and in-person screenings than last year.

Besides Payal Kapadia’s A Night of Knowing Nothing, the Critics Week title that scooped up the Cannes Film Festival’s prize for the best documentary film – the Golden Eye – this year, TIFF will premiere sound designer Nithin Lukose’s gripping Malayalam drama Paka: River of Blood and Ritwik Pareek’s piercing social satire Dug Dug.

While the epistolary A Night of Knowing Nothing is part of the festival’s Wavelengths section devoted to avant-garde cinematic works that experiment with forms and genres, Paka and Dug Dug are screening in Discovery, a selection, as the name suggests, aimed unearthing new talent from across the world.

A Night of Knowing Nothing, the FTII-trained Kapadia’s first feature, centres on a university student who writes letters to her estranged lover, revealing through a collage of recollections, personal impressions and experiences the political realities of contemporary India.

Paka and Dug Dug, too, each in its own unique way, provide an insight into today’s India. The former deals with an inter-generational feud between two families in Lukose’s native Wayanad district, against a long history migration and dislocation within the state of Kerala.

Dug Dug, set in Rajasthan, where Pareek grew up before moving to Mumbai, examines the nature of faith and its manifestations in a nation of multiple systems of religious belief. It revolves around an alcoholic man who dies in a gruesome accident while riding his motorcycle in a drunken state. As one strange event leads to another in the aftermath of the tragedy, the deceased turns into the focal point of a rapidly growing religious cult.

Unearthing new talent is a purpose TIFF has served without fail over the years. The festival has helped many Indian independent filmmakers find a doorway to global acclaim. Especially over the last 25 years, North America’s premier film festival, while continuing to embrace mainstream Bollywood cinema keeping in mind the predilections of the south Asian audience in multi-cultural Toronto, has proven to be a wonderful platform for Indian directors crafting films of a different timbre.

Let us cast our minds back to 2001. Twenty years ago, Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, the first Indian film to bag the coveted prize since Satyajit Ray’s Aparajito (The Unvanquished), the second part of the master’s iconic Apu trilogy.  Monsoon Wedding also played in TIFF Galas, a line-up that was obviously locked way before the Venice awards were announced.

It was the year of Ashutosh Gowariker’s Oscar-nominated Lagaan, which, too, was part of the TIFF line-up in 2001 alongside Pan Nalin’s Samsara and cinematographer-director Santosh Sivan’s Asoka. Both Nalin and Sivan have had other films in the festival. Incidentally, Everybody Says I’m Fine, the first film directed by Mumbai actor Rahul Bose, also made the TIFF cut that year.

Nalin was back in the TIFF mix in 2013 with the Kumbh Mela documentary Faith Connections and in 2015 with the feminist drama Angry India Goddesses, which took home the TIFF People’s Choice First Runner-up Prize. Sivan, on his part, had two early Tamil-language directorial ventures – a suicide-bomber thriller The Terrorist (1998) and the children’s film Malli (1999) – in the festival programme.

Mira Nair’s first film, Salaam Bombay!, travelled to TIFF in 1988 after bagging the Camera d’Or at Cannes, where it premiered in Directors’ Fortnight. She was back at TIFF in 1996 with Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love. In 2006, one of her most-loved films, The Namesake, starring Irrfan Khan and Tabu, figured in TIFF. Last year, the festival showcased the BBC series A Suitable Boy, Nair’s adaptation of the Vikram Seth novel.   

The films by Canadian-Indian filmmaker Deepa Mehta that constitute her acclaimed Elements trilogy – Fire (1996), Earth (1998) and Water (2005) – were all at TIFF. Needless to say, Mehta, who is based in Toronto and was also a member of TIFF’s Board of Directors for several years, has had many of her films, including Bollywood/Hollywood (2002), Heaven on Earth (2008), Midnight’s Children (2012) and Beeba Boys (2015), in the festival programme.    

Nair and Mehta have led the way for a long line of Indian female directors who have had a sustained and fruitful relationship with TIFF. The festival programmed Shonali Bose’s directorial debut Amu in 2005. The filmmaker’s subsequent films – Margarita, With a Straw (2014), starring Kalki Koechlin, and The Sky is Pink (2019), headlined by Priyanka Chopra Jonas – made their world premieres at TIFF.

Actor Konkona Sen Sharma’s brilliant first film as a director – A Death in the Gunj – premiered at TIFF in 2016, while writer-director Bornila Chatterjee’s sophomore effort, The Hungry, a provocative and lively adaptation of the rarely filmed William Shakespeare play Titus Andronicus, bowed at the festival in 2017.

The year 2017 also saw Rima Das’ maiden directorial venture, Village Rockstars, being unveiled at TIFF. She was back in Toronto the very next year with Bulbul Can Sing and the year thereafter as part of the festival’s ‘Share Her Journey’ campaign aimed at seeking gender parity in the movie industry.

In the case of Ritu Sarin, who directs films with Tenzing Sonam, the gap between her first and second trips to TIFF was much longer. Sarin and Tenzing’s first film Dreaming Lhasa premiered in Toronto in 2005. They returned to the festival in 2018 with The Sweet Requiem.

Nandita Das’ second film, Manto, was also in TIFF in 2018 after it had world premiered in the Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard section, a decade after her directorial debut Firaaq was unveiled for a global audience at 2008 edition of TIFF.

In 2019, Gitanjali Rao’s animated feature Bombay Rose played at TIFF. It was the second animated Indian film to make it to the festival after Shilpa Ranade’s Goopy Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya, also a first feature, in 2013. 

Needless to say, numerous male directors from India have had their first or second films premiered at TIFF. Notable among them are Murali Nair, whose hour long feature Marana Simhasanam (Throne of Death) arrived at TIFF after winning the Cannes Camera d’Or in 1999, Shivajee Chandrabhushan’s Frozen, (2007), Dev Benegal’s Split Wide Open (1999), Aamir Bashir’s Kashmiri film Harud (Autumn, 2010) and Sidharth Srinivasan’s PaironTalle (Soul of Sand, 2010).

Goan filmmaker Laxmikant Shetgaonkar’s debut Paltadacho Munis (The Man Beyond the Bridge), a part of TIFF in 2009, won the FIPRESCI Discovery Award. No other Indian film has bagged the prize to date.

VasanBala’s debut film Peddlers (2012) screened at TIFF as part of the festival’s City to City programme. The film had premiered in May 2012 in Cannes Critics’ Week. The director returned to TIFF in 2018 with Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (The Man Who Feels No Pain), the first Indian film to make it to TIFF’s Midnight Madness.

Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota went on to win won the Midnight Madness People’s Choice Award, beating high-profile contenders such as David Gordon Green’s Halloween and Sam Levinson’s Assassination Nation.

Vishal Bhardwaj’s second film as director Maqbool, a reimagining of Macbeth, played in TIFF Discovery, while a film that he scripted, Meghna Gulzar’s Talvar, travelled to the festival in 2015. Irrfan Khan, a principal member of the cast of Talvar, was in attendance at the film’s world premiere.

In 2013, Irrfan had two films in the TIFF official selection – Anup Singh’s Qissa – The Tale of a Lonely Ghost and Ritesh Batra’s Cannes Critics Week entry The Lunchbox.

No discussion about Indian films at TIFF can be complete without a mention of Anurag Kashyap, who has been a regular at the festival since That Girl in Yellow Boots with Kalki Koechlin in the lead, made it to Toronto in 2010. In fact, one of India’s TIFF entries this year, Paka: Throne of Blood, is presented by Kashyap.

In 2011, a film produced by Kashyap, Michael, directed by Ribhu Dasgupta and starring Naseeruddin Shah in the titular role of a retired policeman, travelled to TIFF. Kashyap has since travelled to TIFF with Mukkabaaz (The Brawler, 2017) and Manmarziyaan (2018).  

In 2012, TIFF chose Mumbai as the focus of its City to City programme. Nine titles, including the two parts of Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur, made up the selection. The other films screened were Anand Gandhi’s Ship of Theseus, Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely, Manjeet Singh’s Mumbai Cha Raja, Hansal Mehta’s Shahid, Mohit Takalkar’s The Bright Day, Dibakar Banerjee’s Shanghai, besides Peddlers.

Mani Ratnam’s Iruvar (1997) and KannathilMuthamittal (A Peck on the Cheek, 2002) screened in TIFF’s Masters section, which has showcased several other Indian filmmakers over the years (Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Girish Kasaravalli and Rituparno Ghosh). But the only film by a first-time Tamil director to ever premiere at TIFF is M. Manikandan’s KakaaMuttai (Crow’s Egg, 2014). The film was co-produced by Dhanush and Vetrimaaran.

Another Tamil entry, Suseenthiran’s third film, Azhagarsamiyin Kutharai (Azhagarsamy’s Horse), was at TIFF in 2o11. Significantly, until Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Jallikattu and Geethu Mohandas’s second feature Moothon (The Elder One) premiered in Toronto in 2019, Adoor was the only Malayali filmmaker to be featured at TIFF. NithinLukose is the fourth filmmaker from Kerala to make it into the TIFF league. 


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Screen Moms; Best Movies to Stream on Mother’s Day

admin   May 9, 2020

By Saibal Chatterjee

Wildly differing in sum and substance, these ten titles are drawn from a range of genres – from cinematic masterpieces to fluffy entertainers. Watch them with an open where necessary, and enjoy the star turns when the theme appears to be bordering on the stale. Almodovar and Cuaron deliver masterclasses, Shonali Bose crafts a bright-eyed tearjerker, and the likes of Susan Sarandon and Jennifer Aniston add life to less than satisfactory fare. The idea is to celebrate motherhood no matter what. You can stream it right now.

Otherhood (Netflix)

Sex and the City and Modern Family writer Cindy Chupack’s directorial debut, Otherhood, is a comedy about three suburban women, feeling left out on Mother’s Day, decide to call on their adult sons in New York City unannounced. Complications ensue. The 2019 film hasn’t garnered great reviews but can be watched for the performances of the three leads – Patrician Arquette, Angela Bassett and Felicity Huffman.

Mother’s Day (Netflix)

Director Garry Marshall’s last film, Mother’s Day is a 2016 dramedy about a bunch of Atlanta moms, led by Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson and Julia Roberts, dealing with a host of issues related to their offspring. Again, like Otherhood, Mother’s Day isn’t the greatest movie you will ever see, but you can watch it nonetheless for the sprightly cast that does its best to liven up the proceedings.

Roma (Netflix)

An arthouse classic that deserves to be more widely seen than it has thus far been, Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma focuses on a soft-spoken woman, Cleo, who works as a surrogate mother to three children of a middle-class Mexican family while coping with an unwanted pregnancy of her own. It is the director’s fond remembrance of the housekeeper who raised him. Deliberately paced, masterfully shot and edited, Roma is an exceptional film. 

All About My Mother (Disney+Hotstar)

This 1999 Oscar-winning masterpiece from Pedro Almodovar goes beyond being a film about a mother. It is about the meaning of motherhood itself. A nurse loses the teenage son she raised on her own. The distraught woman travels to Barcelona to look for the boy’s lost-lost father. Her maternal instincts are re-aroused as she forges deep ties with a pregnant, HIV-positive nun, a popular stage actress and a transgender sex-worker. A film awash with beauty and compassion.

Mothers and Daughters (Netflix)

Jointly directed by Paul Duddridge and Nigel Levy, this 2016 film examines the relationships between several mother and daughters. A filmmaker (Selma Blair) captures the ties on film eve as she tries to mend fences with her own estranged mother. The film’s ensemble cast is led by Susan Sarandon and includes her real-life daughter Eva Amurri, besides Christina Ricci, Mira Sorvino, Courtney Cox and Sharon Stone.

Freaky Friday (Disney+Hotstar)

Starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan, Freaky Friday is a body-switch fantasy comedy in which a woman and her daughter assume each other’s personalities. Anna is peeved that her mom does not support her musical aspiration; the mother, a widow about to remarry, is upset that the girl cannot stand her fiancé. When the freaky exchange happens, well, there is bedlam.

The Sky is Pink (Netflix)

Not so much about a mother as a whole family, Shonali Bose’s is rumination on death and the process of coming to terms with it, delivered in a style that embraces a zest for life and positivity. Priyanka Chopra Jonas brings star power to the true story of a girl with a terminal illness and the determination of her parents to make the last days of her life as pleasurable as possible. Sensitive and poignant but entertaining. 

Private Life (Netflix)

This is the odd one out on this list: Private Life (2018) is the story of a woman who wants to be a mother but is running out of time. Oscar-nominated director Tamara Jenkins teams up with actors Paul Giamatti, Kathryn Hahn and Kayli Carter to deliver a tender tale of a couple in their 40s desperately trying to be parents. The film is a humorous exploration of marriage, intimacy and a desire for motherhood. Watchable all the way.

Lion (Netflix)     

The beginning is harrowing. A five-year-old boy is separated from his family and ends up on the streets of Kolkata. The climax is heartbreaking. Twenty-five years later, the protagonist, now an adoptive son of an Australian couple, goes back in search of his biological mother, Lion, directed by debutant Garth Davis, spins a true tale that is emotionally uplifting and wonderfully well-acted by a cast that includes Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara and David Wenham.

Mom (Netflix)

A crime drama on Mother’s Day? Well Mom, starring Sridevi, is worth a shot. It tells the story a mother who will stop at nothing to avenge the rape of her step daughter, a girl with whom her relationship has been choppy. Bolstered by a strong central performance, this is a gut-wrenching film that employs the tropes of a revenge saga to address questions surrounding safety of women and distortions in law enforcement. 

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Indian Films At Toronto a Sparkling Quartet

admin   August 29, 2019

India’s ‘fabulous four’ in the 44th Toronto International Film Festival represent exciting and distinct cinematic voices. These films, three of which will be world premiering in TIFF, have compelling stories, employing methods that stem from unique sensibilities. At one end
is the story of a real-life urban couple learning life lessons from a terminally ill but spirited daughter (Shonali Bose’s The Sky is Pink) and at the other a tale of a buffalo that escapes from its butcher-owner and sparks a frenzy in a small town in Kerala (Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Jallikattu),
The other two Indian films present divergent takes on Mumbai: Gitanjali Rao’s animated feature Bombay Rose and Geetu Mohandas’ gritty yet life-affirming drama Moothon (The Elder One).

It is a strong year in TIFF for Indian female directors. Three of the titles in this quartet have been directed by women. That apart, Priyanka Chopra, who toplines the cast of The Sky is Pink, is one of the four Indian ambassadors of TIFF’s ‘Share Her Journey’ campaign, which is aimed
at promoting gender parity in the movie industry both in front of and behind the camera. The other three are filmmakers Mira Nair, Deepa Mehta and Rima Das. Das’s last two films (Village Rockstars and Bulbul Can Sing) premiered in TIFF. She will be attending the festival this year too, to take part in the campaign launched in 2017, the year she debuted here.

THE SKY IS PINK by Shonali Bose

THE SKY IS PINK by Shonali Bose

Cast: Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Farhan Akhtar, Zaira Wasim, Rohit Saraf
Producer(s): Ronnie Screwvala, Siddharth Roy Kapur

Shonali Bose’s The Sky is Pink, which also features Farhan Akhtar and Zaira Wasim in stellar roles, is part of the festival’s Gala Presentations. Bose is a TIFF veteran. Each of the three films that she has helmed has screened in North America’s premier festival.The Sky is Pink is scheduled for release on October 11, a month after its world premiere in TIFF on September 13.

The poignant film portrays 25 years in the life of a married couple whose relationship is depicted from the perspective of their just-deceased teenage daughter. It is inspired by the tragic true story of Aisha Chaudhary, who was diagnosed with severe immune-deficiency and had to battle through every day of her life for survival. But even as she counted her days, she never stopped living in the moment. She became a motivational speaker and wrote a book that was published a day before her death.

Bose’s first two films, Amu (2005) and Margarita with a Straw (2015), both critically acclaimed cinematic essays drawn from real life, also played in Toronto.

Shonali Bose

India | 2019 | Hindi WORLD PREMIERE 134 minutes

Director | Shonali Bose

Cinematography | Kartik Vijay, Nick Cooke, Andrew Litt, Andre Menezes, Ravi Varman

Editing | Manas Mittal

Executive Producers | Nilesh Maniyar, Deepak Gawade, John Penotti, Michael Hogan, Robert Friedland

Production Companies | Roy Kapur Films, RSVP, Ivanhoe Pictures, Purple Pebble Pictures

Production Designer | Aradhana Seth

Screenplay | Shonali Bose, Nilesh Maniyar

Sound |Anish John

Distributor | RSVP

BOMBAY ROSE by Gitanjali Rao

BOMBAY ROSE by Gitanjali Rao

Cast: Cayli Vivek Khare, Amit Deondi, Gargi Shitole, Makrand Deshpnde
Producer(s): Rohit Khattar, Anand Mahindra

At the other end of the India’s TIFF spectrum this year is Gitanjali Rao, a globally celebrated animation filmmaker who has carved her own niche in a nation where animated films are not only rare but are also usually seen as entertainment meant only for children. She employs the medium to tell complex, layered stories about her city and its people, especially those who need to retreat into dream worlds to escape the soul-destroying urban grind that they must inevitably undergo on a day-to-day basis.

Rao’s first feature, Bombay Rose, which has made TIFF’s Contemporary World Cinema cut, arrives in Toronto from Venice, where it was the opening film of the Critics Week. The film looks at street-dwellers who live on the margins of the megapolis. “I have always wanted to tell stories,” Rao says in her director’s note, “about the unsung heroes who live and love in Mumbai, never become success stories, yet their struggle for survival makes heroes out of them.” Bombay Rose is composed of frame-by-frame painted animation, a painstaking process that took all of two years.

Bombay Rose is only the second Indian animation film to screen in TIFF. In 2103, Shilpa Ranade’s Goopy Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya made it to the festival programme.

Gitanjali Rao

India, United Kingdom, Qatar, France, 2019 | Hindi NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE 93 minutes

Director | Gitanjali Rao

Editing |Gitanjali Rao

Executive Producers | Deborah Sathe, Tessa Inkelaar, Charlotte Uzu, Serge Lalou

Production Companies | Cinestaan Film Company, Les Films d’Ici

Animation Studio | Paperboat

Production Designer | Rupali Gatti

Screenplay | Gitanjali Rao

Sound | P.M. Satheesh

MOOTHON by Geetu Mohandas

MOOTHON by Geetu Mohandas

Cast: Nivin Pauly, Sobhita Dhulipala, Shashank Arora
Producer(s): Anurag Kashyap, Vinod Kumar, Ajay G. Rai, Alan McAlex

Mumbai also plays a key role in actress-turned-filmmaker Geetu Mohandas’ Malayalam-Hindi bilingual film, Moothon (The Elder One), which revolves around a 14-year-old Lakshadweep island boy, Mulla, who travels at great personal risk to the bustling city to look for his big brother, Akbar, armed only with a phone number. The film follows the parallel arcs of the two siblings while it focuses on the hope and despair that they have to grapple with in a city where life can be rough when the guards are down.

Although Mohandas is a TIFF first-timer, her maiden feature, Liar’s Dice (2013), had premiered in the Sundance Film Festival and was India’s official nomination for the Oscars.

Moothon, which has Nivin Pauly, Sobhita Dhulipala and Shashank Arora in key onscreen roles, is co-produced by Anurag Kashyap, who has also penned the Hindi dialogues of the film. For Kashyap, TIFF is a bit of an annual ritual. His last two films, Mukkabaaz and Manmarziyaan, were both in the festival.

Geetu Mohandas

India | 2019 Malayalam, Hindi WORLD PREMIERE 110 minutes

Director | Geetu Mohandas

Cinematography | Rajeev Ravi

Editing | Ajithkumar B., Kiran Das

Production Companies | JAR Pictures, Mini Studio

Production Designer | Abid T. P.

Screenplay | Geetu Mohandas

Sound | Kunal Sharma

Original Score | Sagar Desai

JALLIKATTU by Lijo Jose Pellissery

JALLIKATTU by Lijo Jose Pellissery

Cast: Antony Varghese, Vinayakan, Sabumon Abdusamad
Producer(s): O. Thomas Panicker

Lijo Jose Pellissery, one of the most exciting flag-bearers of the new Malayalam cinema, is in this year’s lineup with Jallikattu, based on a short story, Maoist, written by S. Hareesh. The maker of Angamaly Diaries and Ee.Ma.Yau focusses on a butcher’s buffalo that flees from his owner’s clutches on the eve of its planned slaughter. As the people of the town in Kerala’s Idukki district set out to recapture the animal, dormant animosities bubble to the surface and unleash unsettling violence. Like his previous two film, Lijo’s new outing blends heady energy with an unwavering sense of formal cinematic proportion.

Jallikattu – the title is derived from the ancient Tamil bull-running tradition that has sparked much debate in recent times – allows for a deep dive into the heart of a politically volatile state that, pretty much like the people in the story that the film narrates – are increasingly being divided along destructively emotive lines.

Lijo Jose Pellissery

India | 2019 Malayalam WORLD PREMIERE 91 minutes

Director | Lijo Jose Pellissery

Cinematography | Gireesh Gangadharan

Editing | Deepu Joseph

Production Company | Opus Penta

Production Designer | Gokul Das

Screenplay | S Hareesh, R Jayakumar

Sound | Renganath Ravee

Publicist | Opus Penta

Original Score | Prashant Pillai

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Four Indian Films at the Toronto International Film Festival 2019

admin   August 20, 2019

Shonali Bose’ The Sky is Pink, Gettu Mohandas’s Moothon (The Elder One), Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Jallikattu and Gitanjali Rao’s Bombay Rose will be premiered at the 44th Toronto Internaitonal Film Festival beginning September 5. Toronto is the only international festival which has picked maximum number of Indian films in the official selections.

At TIFF, the Indian spotlight this year will be on well-known directors — Shonali Bose, Geetu Mohandas, Gitanjali Rao, Lijo Jose Pellissery — sprearheading the new wave of Indian cinema in the global markets.

A bold new voice in Malayalam cinema, Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Jallikattu presents a portrait of a remote village in his hometown where a buffalo escapes and causes a frenzy of ecstatic violence.

Gitanjali Rao’s Bombay Rose

Indian writer-director Geetu Mohandas presents an unsparing yet inspiring vision of Mumbai through the story of two small-town siblings, each with their own reason for escaping to the big city, in this urgent drama pondering gender, sexuality, violence, and tolerance. Moothon is jointly produced by Anurag Kashyap.

Animated feature film Bombay Rose written, designed, and directed by Gitanjali Rao follows multiple characters, each connected by a single red rose, as they navigate life and love in the sprawling Indian metropolis. Her debut film Bombay Rose is the story of a flower seller who has to make the choice between protecting her family or allowing herself to fall in love. This touching story is set on the streets of Mumbai and moves from real life to fantasy, accompanied by much-loved Bollywood songs from the cinema halls. Painted frame by frame, for which Gitanjali is famed, Bombay Rose is a chronicle of the people who migrate from small towns, seeking minimal life in the maximum city.

The Sky is Pink is directed by Shonali Bose and is based on the story of motivatioal speaker Aisha Chaudhary who had been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.

Shonali Bose’ The Sky is Pink

“What I love about India is that, it is the world’s most film passionate country in the world. You can talk to anyone in this country and everyone has got an opinion about films. This is not the case anywhere in the world. This is the cultural norm,” stated Cameron Bailiey, Co-Head of Toronto International Film Festival to Pickle during his Mumbai trip last year. Single handedly, Cameron Bailey has managed to get over 50 Indian filmmakers to showcase their work in global markets after screening their films in Toronto.

Shonali Bose’s Margarita With A Straw was selected in Toronto in 2014. The film Margarita With A Straw was a bittersweet drama about a woman with cerebral palsy. Shonali Bose has ploughed a lonely furrow as a filmmaker. Her debut feature, Amu, released in 2005, homed in on individuals affected by the 1984 anti-Sikhriots. She co-wrote Bedabrata Pain’s critically acclaimed Chittagong (2012), a dramatization of a significant chapter in India’s freedom struggle. For Margarita With A Straw, Bose cast Kalki Koechlin in a role that called for absolute commitment of time and energy. For both the director and the lead actress, the film has been unqualified artistic triumph. Her National Award winning film Amu was also screened at Toronto.

Gettu Mohandas’s Moothon (The Elder One)

A successful Malayalam actress and director, Geetu Mohandas is best known across India for the independently funded Liar’s Dice, which had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. The title, which also went to the International Film Festival Rotterdam, was India’s Official Entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the 87th Academy Awards in 2014.

Director Lijo Jose Pellissery, whose fifth and sixth films (Angamaly Diaries, 2017 and Ee Ma Yau, 2018) have catapulted him into national prominence, is easily one of the most exciting filmmakers to have emerged in India in the course of the current decade. His films have a distinct style and pace and are underpinned by a keen sense of time and place. He is the latest discovery from India in the global film festival circuit.

Gitanjali Rao’s four independently produced animated shorts, Blue, Orange, Printed Rainbow, Chai and TrueLoveStory have been to over 150 International film festivals and received more than 30 awards.

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India Pavilion at Toronto International Film Market 2019

admin   August 20, 2019

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, in collaboration with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is taking a delegation to the Toronto International Film Festival beginning September 5, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. The film festival will also see an India Pavilion which will provide a platform to popularize Indian cinema in the overseas market and facilitate new business opportunities.

The Indian Media & Entertainment industry delegation to TIFF 2019 comprises of filmmakers, directors and producers, service providers among others.

This year four Indian films are being screened at TIFF, including The Sky is Pink directed by Shonali Bose (Galas 2019), Moothon (The Elder One) directed by Geetu Mohandas (Special Presentations 2019), Jallikattu directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery (Contemporary World Cinema) and Bombay Rose directed by Gitanjali Rao (Contemporary World Cinema).

The objective behind the participation is to promote Indian films across linguistic cultural and regional diversity so as to forge an increasing number of international partnerships in the realms of distribution, production, filming in India, script development and technology, thereby accelerating the growth of film sector in India.

The Indian delegation, through various interactions, will promote ease of shooting films in India through Film Facilitation Office (FFO) that facilitates Single Window Clearance for film-makers and provides the platform for ‘film tourism’ in India. The delegation will showcase India as a post-production hub, promote collaborations for films with international production houses and encourage Indian Panorama Films for sales and syndication.

India has its advantage at every filmmaking process. It has a strong domestic film industry across the country. More than anything else, India has access to world class technicians and equipment; amazing choice of locations to shoot any type of film. Skilled professionals are available across the country. India is gearing up for the 50th edition of International Film Festival Of India, Goa from 20 November to 28 November 2019.

The market potential for Indian content in Toronto is huge because of the strong presence of the Indian diaspora and great interest in Indian Cinema. India-Canada are in a co-production treaty and the delegation will explore opportunities to work on co-producing films with Canada.

With 1800 feature films produced in the country, more than 900 television channels, 600 million internet users, 4000 million smart phone users, India’s vibrant media and entertainment (M&E) industry provides attractive growth opportunities for global corporations.

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Priyanka Chopra’s The Sky is Pink Set to Premiere in 2019 Toronto Internaitonal Film Festival’s Gala Section

admin   July 24, 2019

Priyanka Chopra and Farhan Akhtar starring The Sky is Pink will have its world premiere in the Gala Section at the 44th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) beginning September 5. The Sky is Pink is directed by Shonali Bose and is based on the story of motivatioal speaker Aisha Chaudhary who had been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.

Toronto International Film Festival is the only International festival which has picked the maximum number of Indian films for screening in official selections.

The film is produced by Priyanka Chopra, Ronnie Screwvala and Sidddharth Roy Kapur. The Sky is Pink is one of the 18 Galas announced by TIFF on Tuesday. Dangal actress Zaira Wasim, who quit acting, plays the role of Aisha Chaudhary. Rohit Saraf is also a part of the starcast. Ronnie Screwvala produced Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota (The Man Who Feels No Pain) directed by Vasan Bala won the People’s Choice prize for best Midnight Madness section at the 43rd Toronto International Film Festival 2018.

The synopis of the film in the TIFF website states the following: A recently deceased teenage daughter narrates the story of her mother and father’s poignant, affecting, and inspiring romance, in this unexpectedly humorous love story from Shonali Bose, inspired by late Indian author Aisha Chaudhary and her family.

“What I love about India is that, it is the world’s most film passionate country in the world. You can talk to anyone in this country and everyone has got an opinion about films. This is not the case anywhere in the world. This is the cultural norm,” stated Cameron Bailiey, Co-Head of Toronto International Film Festival to Pickle during his Mumbai trip last year. Single handedly, Cameron Bailey has managed to get over 50 Indian filmmakers to showcase their work in global markets after screening their films in Toronto.

Shonali Bose’s Margarita With A Straw was selected in Toronto in 2014. The film Margarita With A Straw was a bittersweet drama about a woman with cerebral palsy. Shonali Bose has ploughed a lonely furrow as a filmmaker. Her debut feature, Amu, released in 2005, homed in on individuals affected by the 1984 anti-Sikhriots. She co-wrote Bedabrata Pain’s critically acclaimed Chittagong (2012), a dramatization of a significant chapter in India’s freedom struggle. For Margarita With A Straw, Bose cast Kalki Koechlin in a role that called for absolute commitment of time and energy. For both the director and the lead actress, the film has been unqualified artistic triumph.

Priyanka Chopra returns to Bollywood after three years and she was seen last in Jai Gangaajaal.The Sky is Pink is also Priyanka Chopra’s first Indian film project after she headed for Hollywood in 2016. Priyanka Chopra was the Guest of Honour at TIFF Soiree in 2017– a fund raiser in support of “Share Her Journey” campaign to support female voices in the cinema industries. Priyanka Chopra discussed about her career in and outside of the film industry during an onstage conversation moderated by Cameron Bailey.

Priyanka Chopra starring Mary Kom, directed by Omung Kumar was screened in Toronto in Special Presentations Section in 2014. Priyanka played India’s leading sporting icon in lead role as the gutsy boxer from the North East Indian state who rose from humble beginnings to the pinnacle in the world of women’s boxing.

Priyanka Chopra Begins The Sky Is Pink

admin   August 8, 2018

Days after deciding to quit Salman Khan’s upcoming Bharat barely 10 days before it was to hit the floors, Priyanka Chopra has announced to co-produce and star in ‘The Sky Is Pink’, a film based on the real-life story of a Delhi-based motivational speaker who died at the age of 18 due to a medical condition.

Priyanka posted a photo of the team on Twitter with a caption reading: “So excited about today..Some stories just need to be told. In the spirit of Aisha Chaudhary and her incredible parents Aditi and Niren we bring you our super special project The Sky Is Pink. Going on floors today!”

The Sky Is Pink will co-star Farhan Akhtar and Zaira Wasim and will be directed by Shonali Bose of Margarita With A Straw fame. Priyanaka will co-produce the film with Ronnie Screwvala and Siddharth Roy Kapur.

Zaira Wasim will be playing Aisha Chaudhary, who despite being diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis at the age of 13 went on to become a motivational speaker and writer before she passed away 5 years later. It has also been learned that Priyanka and Farhan Akhtar will be playing Chaudhary’s parents.

While the shooting of the move began on Wednesday in Mumbai, it will also be shot in Delhi, London and the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal.

After Priyanka decided to quit Bharat it led to several media speculations, as the actor said that she wouldn’t like to share with public the reasons for her end moment decision to call it off.

Following her success in American network drama Quantico, Priyanka will be seen in Isn’t It Romantic with Liam Hemsworth, which is slated for next year release. The actress has also bagged the female lead opposite Chris Pratt in Universal’s Cowboy Ninja Viking.