The Toronto Film Festival which opened on September 6 has never seen more Indian films and their representatives all gathered in one place and getting so much notice. Among the denizens of Indian cinema currently stationed in Toronto are Bengali filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh, his leading man Amitabh Bachchan and leading lady Preity Zinta for the film The Last Lear.
Preity has never been to an international film festival before! “Last year when Karan Johar, Shah Rukh and Mr Bachchan came to Toronto with Kabhi Alvidaa Na Kehna I couldn’t join them because of a friend’s wedding. I’m so glad that I came here with The Last Lear,” she exulted on Sunday night at 1.30 am from Toronto. “The response has been beyond anything I’ve expected. Mr Bachchan is being treated like God. His Shakespearean oratory is sending audiences into raptures. You know I grew up on Shakespeare, so I’m not so bad with it either.”
Writing on the Toronto International Film Festival’s website, on the changing profile of Bollywood in the West, film critic Christopher McKinnon writes, “A new crop of films from India defies the Bollywood tropes that Western audiences often mistakenly apply to all of Indian cinema. You won’t find many scenes of singing and dancing, and hardly a frame of melodrama. Bollywood represents only a part of India’s national cinema, and these diverse selections will show Toronto some daring and innovative new films from acclaimed filmmakers and actors.”
Calling Amitabh Bachchan “the most revered movie star on the planet”, the Festival compares the actor’s performance in The Last Lear to Richard Burton and Toshiro Mifune (Roshomon).
“There was the red-carpet premiere on Saturday