A brave new cinema

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SummaryExhibiting a fresh spirit of storytelling, Indian filmmakers make a mark at this year’s Toronto film festival

titled Potli Baba Ki, and instantly knew it would make an animated film,” says Ranade, who spoke with Ray’s son Sandip Ray about her plan to make an animated movie based on the original story by Ray’s grandfather Upendra Kishor Ray Chaudhuri.

“He said it’s fine and we started to make the film,” says Ranade, who found a producer in the Children’s Film Society, India. Using theatre activists for music, the strong point of the film, she made the low-budget movie about Goopy, the singer, and Bagha, the drummer, in two-and-a-half years. After the Toronto festival, the 78-minute film, titled Goopi Gawaiyaa, Bagha Bajaiyaa in Hindi, will head for the Busan film festival in South Korea early next month. The favourable response from the Toronto festival audience to the film, part of the festival’s section for children, is expected to influence its producer to go for an English dubbing to cater to a global audience.

Dismantling diaspora

With cinema increasingly becoming a mass medium to celebrate cultures, Toronto, which has a high population of Asian immigrants, comes off as the ideal exhibition venue for Indian films. Last year, the Toronto festival chose Mumbai for its third ‘City to City’ programme after Istanbul and Buenos Aires, screening as many as 10 films made by the city’s directors. However, at the packed screening venues of Indian films, Indian immigrants were matched by a cross-section of local, as well as international viewers. In this year’s edition of the festival, Richie Mehta, an Indian-origin filmmaker born in Toronto, was chosen for the festival’s contemporary world cinema section that has films from England, Kenya, the US and France. Mehta’s second feature film, Siddharth, which had its world premiere at the recently-concluded Venice festival, received rave reviews for its handling of the kidnapping of a boy from Delhi’s streets during its North American premiere in Toronto.

“Though films made in India are able to target the diaspora audiences today, India hasn’t created the infrastructure for carrying local films globally,” says Sanjeev Lamba, CEO of Reliance Big Pictures. This seems to be changing, with Indian filmmakers opting for co-productions to

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