BY PREETI THANDI
Toronto: 392 films from 79 countries, red carpet madness, line-ups and most of all the love of film is all set to embrace the city for the next 10 days! Toronto’s most anticipated event of the year is here! The Toronto International Film Festival’s (TIFF) 2014 South Asian slate may look a little slim this year compared to the landmark year India had in 2012 but it still has a lot to entice audiences. From Priyanka Chopra’s star power in Omung Kumar’s Mary Kom to Shonali Bose’s ‘Margarita, with a Straw’ featuring Kalki Koechlin which is actually on TIFF’s Artistic Director, Cameron Bailey’s Mission List of 16 films that meet the festival’s mission: “Transform the way people see the world through film.” TIFF offers a unique platform to filmmakers and a thought provoking window to audiences. Mary Kom an inspirational film on the life of the world boxing champion and Olympic medallist captures the highs and lows of the boxer’s life. Priyanka Chopra who has been doing a lot of promotions for the film in India is flying into town just for the World Premiere of Mary Kom, which is a Special Presentation on TIFF’s opening night. Shonali Bose’s Margarita, with a Straw is a coming of age story for Laila, a young talented woman with cerebral palsy who doesn’t let her disability come in the way of anything. The film is inspired by Bose’s sister and her own deeply personal experience. Kalki Koechlin plays the part of Laila and judging by the film’s trailer her performance is extraordinary. Other offerings with South Asian themes include Isabel Coixet’s Learning to Drive with Ben Kingsley, which is about a Manhattan writer (Patricia Clarkson) taking driving lessons from a Sikh Instructor. Sturla Gunnarson’s documentary Monsoon captures the visual glory of India’s weather phenomenon. Afia Nathaniel’s Dukhtar (Pakistan, USA, Norway) is the story of a courageous mother who braves all odds to protect her ten-year-old daughter from child marriage. Academy award winning director Danis Tanovic’s Tigers starring Emraan Hashmi is based on a real life true story about a salesman in Pakistan who is shocked to discover the adverse affects of the baby formula he has been aggressively marketing. He quits his job and then sets out to defy the corporation he worked for. This year also features M.Manikandan’s The Crow’s Egg about two slum kids who dream of eating pizza and Megha Ramaswamy’s short, Newborns, about female acid attack survivors. The short film has been produced by Anand Gandhi whose film Ship of Theseus featured at TIFF 2012, won the National Award in India last year and is still gathering accolades. TIFF runs from Sep 4-14, 2014.