From Raja Harishchandra to Miss Lovely
The Toronto International Film Festival celebrates the best of Indian cinema
The ticket price is rather steep, but it does offer access to more than just a movie, a hundred years’worth, in fact. On the sidelines of the Toronto International Film Festival ( TIFF), which runs between September 5 and 15, the second annual gala fundraiser for TIFF is celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema. Donors are expected to pay $ 25,000 for a table at the event on September 7 in the Canadian city. It’s an event befitting this year’s theme, according to Indo- Canadian film director Deepa Mehta, who is putting the show together.“The East Asian diaspora has brought a lot to cinema, and to Toronto and TIFF as well. I think having recognition for that is important,” said the Toronto- based Mehta, who is also a TIFF board member. The filmmaker, who has been working on the program for a year, has planned an evening of film, theatre, dinner and dance for the gala. She has chosen clips from 20 films, from Raja Harishchandra, India’s first full- length feature, to last year’s Miss Lovely, to trace the evolution of Indian cinema.“It is a list that is entirely based on personal choice and on landmark films that, in my opinion, have contributed to the way we think and feel. Films that have broken new ground technically and, more importantly, emotionally,” says Mehta of her list, which has 13 Hindi, three Bengali, two Tamil, one Malayalam, and one silent film. At TIFF this year, India is the only country with non- English cinema to have two films in the high- profile Gala Presentation section— The Lunchbox and Shuddh Desi Romance.