The 40th Annual Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) opened on September 10 and continues through September 20. Since its start in 1976, TIFF has become a launching pad for the best of international, Hollywood and Canadian cinema, with its lineup of films offering a glimpse of upcoming Oscar buzz. The size of the film festival is huge, with hundreds of selections compared to a typical film festival’s 50 or 100, and the diversity on screen includes South Asian stories, actors and filmmakers too. Have a look at a few of those selections, from TIFF 2015:
Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi, The Lunchbox) stars in this dramatization of a notorious murder case which set off a media frenzy around the world in 2008. The “Noida Double Murder Case,” was initially deemed an honor killing by police despite a lack of evidence, because the 14-year-old victim, Aarushi Talwar, had an affair with the family’s servant. Khan plays the lead detective urgently searching for truth in this thriller by director Meghna Gulzar. Screening details.
Beeba Boys (Canada)
Deepa Mehta’s latest feature is a Vancouver-based gangland picture about a turf war over drugs and arms-trafficking rackets, with Sikh mobsters and Punjabi gangs of second- and third-generation Indian immigrants. It’s loosely based on the career of notorious crime lord “Bindy” Singh Johal and the Punjabi Mafia of the 1990s. Bollywood star Randeep Hooda stars in the film, along with Ali Momen and Waris Ahluwalia. Beeba Boys premiered at the festival on Sunday, and is out in Canadian theaters October 16.
Angry Indian Goddesses (India)
This film appears to be an answer to the question of “Why isn’t there a Bollywood version of Bridesmaids yet?” A a group of close female friends meet up beachside, in Goa, on the eve of their friend’s wedding. But as they get to talking about everything from careers to street harassment, director Pan Nalin appears to take a serious turn, and their conversation, derived entirely from improvisations among the actors, explores sexism and gender in contemporary Indian society. Screening details.
The Man Who Knew Infinity (United Kingdom)
This biopic about Srinivasa Ramanujan, the groundbreaking mathematician, stars Dev Patel (Chappie, Slumdog Millionaire) and Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons (Dead Ringers, Reversal of Fortune). The actors portray the collaboration between the self-taught mathematics genius and his mentor the English mathematician G.H. Hardy. The clip below offers a glimpse at the clashing styles of these two personalities who transcended race, class, culture and tradition to become friends. Screening details.
Parched (India/USA/United Kingdom)
Filmmaker Leena Yadav began her career as an editor on commercials and an assistant director for television. In Parched, Yadav’s third film, Tannishtha Chatterjee portrays widow Rani, who marries her teenage son off according to tradition in a rural Indian village. The film seeks to shine a light on misogyny through its fictional tale of four women, focusing on institutional and personal prejudices surrounding Rani, her friend Lajjo (Radhika Apte), her daughter-in-law Janaki (Lehar Khan) and dancer/prostitute Bilji (Surveen Chawla). Screening details.