I would be remiss in talking about Indian films at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) if I didn't look at films that come out of the Indian diaspora -- specifically, in this case, Indo-Canadian and Indo-Caribbean. Here are three that have caught my attention in the TIFF11 line-up:
First, Breakaway, directed by Robert Lieberman. And, yes, one of the producers of the film is Bollywood star Akshay Kumar.
I've written about Breakaway before, and I think, for me, it's a bit like Mausam -- I'm definitely interested in seeing it, but unless I get an invite or something, I'll be waiting 'til it comes out in theatres at the end of September. I love the film's premise, though, and Mr. Totally Filmi is probably Anupam Kher Fanboy Number 1, so we'll never miss a film with the delightful Mr. Kher in it. I think it looks like a lot of fun, and I really hope it does well, and I hope they make a big splash at TIFF!
Here's the trailer, in case you haven't seen it yet:
But that's a feature film. What about short films?
I adore short films. I adore them as a genre in the same way I adore short stories -- both require a different approach to telling stories in such a concise format. But I also love them because they're often where up and coming directors cut their filmmaking teeth, and, sadly, often the only way for someone like me to see these early films is, well, at a film festival. Like TIFF. And if you poke around in the corners of the TIFF11 film listing, there are two short films with an Indian connection that I would like to see.
The first is Afternoon Tea, the directorial debut from Vancouver filmmaker DJ Parmar. Written by Richard E. Stark, it stars Quinn Lord, B.K. Singh, Sandy Sidhu and Christopher Pearce. It's the story of an Indian grandfather with no family whose life changes when a small boy comes to his home and asks to use his phone.
I am, frankly, already intrigued by that storyline, and sadly, don't have a trailer I can share with you (though I'm hoping the TIFF folks will eventually put one up on the film's information page). Afternoon Tea will screen with several other short films as part of the Short Cuts Canada series at TIFF11.
The second is a film that almost didn't make it on to my radar, but happily its director, Ian Harnarine (also the film's writer), got in touch with me to let me know about it. Doubles With Slight Pepper is also screening as part of the Short Cuts Canada series (though with a different group of short films), and is set in the Indo-Caribbean community in Trindad. According to the film's website, the film is set in rural Trinidad, and is about Dhani, who "struggles to support himself and his mother by selling doubles (Trinidad’s quintessential street food). When his estranged father returns from Canada unexpectedly, Dhani must decide if he will help save his father’s life despite their strained relationship." Starring Errol Sitahal, Sanjiv Boodhu and Susan Abraham-Hannays, the film boasts some impressive pedigree, not the least of which is one of its executive producers, director Spike Lee.
Dying. To. See. This. Film: