Xavierpop Takes On #TIFF12 City To City Spotlight On Mumbai: @Daniel_Pillai Breaks Down His Top 3 Choices

Each year, there have been Indian and Bollywood films screening or premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival, and each year, I am beyond excited! But let’s not be confused. The spotlight on Mumbai doesn’t necessarily mean that only films from Bollywood will premiere. Bollywood is just one section of the large and encompassing industry that is Indian Cinema. This year’s TIFF festival will showcase films from the city of Mumbai, which allows for a wide encompassing cross-section and variety of films.

Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of TIFF says the idea to focus on Mumbai for the City To City Programme comes from the desire “to introduce the new generation of independent Mumbai film-makers to audiences and buyers in Toronto and help create a platform for their films in North America”. While the largest film industry in the world continues to grow day by day – so have the independent films. If anyone remembers, Aamir Khan starred in Dhobi Ghat which had it’s moment at TIFF back in 2010 and is the perfect example of being just one of many emerging independent films that are providing a stark contrast to the “running around the trees” films India is used to.

What becomes exciting is the anticipation, and the waiting game. You know, the time it takes for us to finally know which films have been officially selected to create a presence at TIFF 2012. Since I am a Bollywood fanatic, there are already films that I am hoping to see at TIFF this year. Here are my top 3 predictions for Bollywood films this year and why I believe they can take TIFF 2012 by storm.


Anurag Kashyap‘s next film Barfi! is already creating buzz in the Bollywood world. The theatrical trailer for Barfi! is a work of art, and if it’s any indication – the film is set to become a hit. Set in the 1970’s, the film is a romantic comedy that involves hearing and speech impaired characters, Murphy played by Ranbir Kapoor and Jhilmil played by Priyanka Chopra. There is a certain bit of a charm that seems to transcend the standard Bollywood-fare. With any luck, we wills see this magical film on our shores for TIFF12 as it deserves the largest most diverse audience possible.

Anurag Kashyap is known for his unconventional storytelling techniques and Barfi! shows nothing but promise. What makes this even more likely to appear in TIFF 2012’s film lineup is the simple fact that the film is slated for a September 14th release. Let’s hope my lady love Priyanka Chopra comes back to Toronto once again.



Reema Kagti‘s film Talaash is in the running on my list for one simple reason – Aamir Khan. Back in 2001, Aamir Khan brought his talent to Toronto to premiere Lagaan which went on to become and Oscar nominated film. Years later, he came back with the highly celebrated and critically acclaimed film Dhobi Ghat. I’m hoping that 2012 has more Aamir in store for us Torontonians. Talaash tells the story of a cop, a housewife and a prostitute whose lives become part of a single mystery…bringing them together in unexpected way.

Aamir Khan is a respected actor and one that chooses scripts very carefully. Almost every film he has been a part of has become a blockbuster at the Indian and overseas box office and has been a visual spectacle, frame to frame. With Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukherjee (her films Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna was screened at TIFF in 2005 and Dil Bole Hadippa in 2009) his co-stars, Talaash promises entertainment. Let’s hope it promises us a Canadian premiere too. Fingers crossed.



Being that I was at the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards and Festival in Singapore earlier this summer, it’s no surprise that Shanghai has made it to the list. Not the city, the film. I remember listening to Dibakar Banerjee speak about the film with such passion…and Kalki spoke so artistically about how she de-glammed herself to play her character.

Shanghai is a political drama that looks at the murder of a political activist leading a campaign against a project led by the government. As the investigation of the murder begins, the falsity of evidence and various situations begin to unfold. Generally, Bollywood has not been known for its political dramas, but Banerjee always blends Indian cinematic elements that compliment one another when telling a story, such as music, realism, rustic character portrayals and lots of action.

Banerjee is known for creating films of substance, and with critical acclaim, decent box office performance, with a dash of rustic charm. Shanghai could very well make an appearance at TIFF 2012.

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