Features & Opinion

Curtain-raiser: India at Toronto International Film Festival 2013

By Editorial Team • Published on September 5, 2013
A still from Faith Connections

A still from Faith Connections

[T] he 38th edition of Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) that kicks off today has lined up seven Indian films for screenings, out of which four are world premieres.

The Lunchbox and Shuddh Desi Romance will be screened as part of Gala Presentations, Qissa and Siddharth in the Contemporary World Cinema section, The World of Gopi and Bagha in TIFF Kids section, documentary Faith Connections in TIFF Docs and Mount Song in the Wavelengths section.

Besides, the Mavericks section that is an “on-stage conversation with leaders in the film industry and beyond” has invited actor Irrfan Khan to discuss his stint in Bollywood so far. Khan plays lead roles in two of the Indian films (Qissa and The Lunchbox) at TIFF this year.

Film journalist and critic Namrata Joshi, who works with Outlook Magazine, is serving on the FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) Jury of the festival.

Qissa by Anup Singh:

Qissa, having its World Premiere at the festival, is eligible for the NETPAC Award. Qissa is based on the tale of Umber Singh, a Sikh who is forced to flee his village due to ethnic cleansing at the time of partition in 1947. Fighting all odds he builds a house and family only to break the peace again when he marries his youngest child Kanwar to Neeli, a girl of lower caste.

The film featuring Irrfan Khan, Tillotama Shome, Rasika Dugal and Tisca Chopra is an India/Germany/The Netherlands/France co-production and represented by sales agent The Match Factory.

Read- Qissa took 12 years to make, tried for 5 years to raise money in India: Anup Singh

The Lunchbox by Ritesh Batra:

An India/France/Germany co-production, The Lunchbox will make its North American premiere at the festival. The film revolves around a middle class housewife Ila who is trying once again to add some spice to her marriage and Saajan, a lonely man on the verge of retirement. The lead roles are played by Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

The Lunchbox won Ritesh Batra the Best Director award at the Odessa International Film Festival in Ukraine and audience choice award at World Cinema Festival in Amsterdam. The film will release in India on September 20, 2013.

Read- Lunchbox is local and universal at the same time: Ritesh Batra

Shudh Desi Romance by Maneesh Sharma:

Shuddh Desi Romance, a Yash Raj Films production, is one among the twenty Gala Presentations at the festival. The film is a fresh love story about the hair-raising minefield between love, attraction and commitment. A romantic comedy that provides a candid look at the affairs of the heart in today’s desi heartland. Starring Sushant Singh Rajput, Parineeti Chopra and Vaani Kapoor; the film will release in theatres in India on September 6, 2013.

Siddharth by Richie Mehta

The Indo-Canadian film will make its North American premiere at the festival following its world premiere at Venice Days. A twelve-year-old Siddharth is sent by his father Mahendra to work in a trolley factory in another province to help support the finances of the family. The boy is supposed to come home in one month for Diwali but fails to return or call. The father begins a desperate search to find his missing son. The film features Rajesh Tailang, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Anurag Arora, Geeta Agrawal Sharma and Naseeruddin Shah.

A still from The World of Goopi and Bagha

A still from The World of Goopi and Bagha

The World of Goopi and Bagha by Shilpa Ranade:

The 78 minute Hindi animation film, funded by the Children’s Film Society of India, will make its World Premiere at TIFF. Goopi a yokel and Bagha a drummer are banished from their village for the appalling music they play. Their passion nonetheless remains intact and they manage to please Bhuter Raja, or the king of ghosts, who grants them three boons, and thus an adventurous journey begins. The story of the film was originally written by Upendrakishore Ray Chowdhury and titled as Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne. His grandson Satyajit Ray made it into a film in 1969 by the same name.

Faith Connections by Pan Nalin:

A France/India production, the 115 minute-documentary will have its World Premiere at the festival. In an attempt to capture the Kumbh Mela, one of the world’s most extraordinary religious events, Nalin encounters remarkable men of mind and meditation. Faith Connections explores such diverse and moving stories as a young runaway kid, a Sadhu, a mother desperately looking for her lost son, a yogi who is raising an abandoned baby, and an ascetic who keeps his calm by smoking cannabis — all connected by one faith against the spectacular display of devotion.

The film is eligible to win the BlackBerry People’s Choice Documentary Award.

Mount Song by Shambhavi Kaul:

The 9 minute India/USA production will make its World Premiere under the Wavelength section. The section is devoted to the daring, visionary and autonomous films. The festival describes the film “as a wild, foreboding gust courses through the night, a subdued elegance is brought forth from past cinema spectacles, whose generic albeit highly suggestive set constructions remain lodged in our imaginary.

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