She Reads South Asia


Monday, August 28, 2006

Indian Cinema and TIFF

The inception of Indian Cinema (a.k.a. Bollywood) came in 1913, when the father of the Indian film industry Dhundiraj Govind (Dadasaheb) Phalke releases the first feature length film Raja Saratchandra (King Harishchandra). The next year he showed that film and two others, Mohini Bhasmasur and Satyavan Savitri (all black and white silent films) in London, thus taking them abroad to the international world.

The Toronto International Film Festival, (originally known as “The Festivals of Festivals”) considered to be one of the top film festivals in the world (and the largest attendance-wise) found its beginnings in 1976.

More than 1200 movies in at least ten regional languages are made and released each year in India. Many of which have found themselves being presented in the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). This year is no different. The 31st Toronto International Film Festival is running from September 7 to 16, 2006 and Indian Cinema will be once again featured.

The Gala Presentation will be none other than Karan Johar’s Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna(Never Say Goodbye). It will take place at Roy Thomson Hall on Sunday September 10th at 1:30.

The screening of Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna will also a thrilling experience for Shah Rukh Khan who stars in the lead role as Dev . In 2001 his production Asoka, was supposed to be part of the Contemporary World Cinema premiere showing at TIFF. Unfortunately, the print of the film was lost in transit from New York to Toronto on 9/11. (Listing appeared as Asoka {Sun} 5pm Varsity 4 & 5)

In a 2006 TIFF press release Festival Co-Director Noah Cowan spoke about the world premieres reflecting the strength and range of contemporary Indian cinema.

"India is a nation of different cultures and languages, which makes its cinema diverse, dynamic and exciting. Films in Hindi, Marathi, Telugu and Manipuri will be here, along with several major world premieres from talented new filmmakers. These four films demonstrate the impressive range of Indian cinema, and we at the Festival are thrilled to be a part of its future."

Those four films will pe presented as follows:

The VISA Screening Room at the Elgin Theatre hosts the world premiere of Kabir Khan’s Kabul Express on Friday September 15th at 6:00 PM.

Special Presentation in Discovery include, A Grave-keeper’s Tale by Chitra Palekar and Vanaja by Rajnesh Domalpalli.

In Real to Reel, the special presentation will be Cry in the Dark by Haobam Paban Kumar.

What about in years past? Has Indian cinema been represented in TIFF? Here are some of the film listings from previous years that have appeared at TIFF.

2005 Deepa Mehta’s Water, S. Bose’s Amu , A. Ahluwalia’s John and Jane, B. Dasgupta’s Memories in the Mist

2004 Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s Chased by Dreams, Bharatbala’s Hari Om,

2003 Rituparno Ghosh's Chokher Bali, A Passion Play

2002 Buddhadeb Dasgupta's A Tale of a Naughty Girl (Mondo Meyer Upakhyan), Mani Ratnam’s A Peck on the Cheek (Kannathil Muthamittal), Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s Shadow Kill (Nizhalkkuthu)and a program called A Bow to Bollywood . . . And Beyond

2001 Digvijay Singh’s Maya, Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan, Murali Nair’s Pattiyude Divasam (A Dog’s Day), - Scheduled but was not presented (see above) Santosh Sivan’s Asoka,

2000 Kamal Haasan’s Hey! Ram, Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s The Wrestlers, Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s Kalamandalam Gopi,

1999 Pankaj Butalia’s Shadows in the Dark (Karvaan), Santosh Sivan’s Malli, Murali Nair’s The tragedy of an Indian Farmer (Short- 6 min)

1998 Kaizad Gustad’s Bombay Boys, Santosh Sivan’s Theeviravaathi (The Terrorist), Satyajit Ray’s Charulata, Deepa Mehta’s Earth

1997 Mani Ratnam’s Iruvar (The Duo)

1996 Deepa Mehta’s Fire

1994 A retrospective of Mani Ratnam’s Tamil films was shown {Nayakan (Hero), Mouna Ragam: Alaipayuthey (Silent Symphony), Roja (Rose) and Thiruda, Thiruda (Thief, Thief)} along with a slew of commercial Indian movies with subtitles over a ten day span as part of “India NOW!”

I have not been able to find any other listings or information for Indian Cinema appearing in 1995 or prior to 1994. So, if anyone has any accurate information pertaining to this, please let me know. This way I can finish creating this listing.


  1. I saw Asoka at TIFF, so the print definitely wasn't lost in transit. The festival cut was shorter, and contained one less song.

  2. Thanks Ali for letting me know.