Monday, September 19, 2016

TIFF 2016: People’s verdict goes to India related films

Garth Davis’ ‘Lion’ and Mira Nair’s ‘Queen of Katwe’ pick up the first and second runner up People’s Choice Awards

- Rutwij Nakhwa 

Every Film Festival, big and small has multiple juries, but the biggest of them all ultimately proves to be the audience. After all, it is them that directors and filmmakers aim to please and thus people’s choice awards always have a special place in their hearts.

This year marked the 39th year that audiences at Toronto cast a ballot for their favourite Festival film for the Grolsch People’s Choice Award. The top honour went to writer-director Damien Chazelle’s ‘La La Land’, which tells the story of Mia, an aspiring actress, and Sebastian, a dedicated jazz musician, who are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for destroying hopes and breaking hearts.

Both the runner-up awards though, were picked up by two films with a strong connection to India — Garth Davis’ ‘Lion’ is the first runner up and Mira Nair’s ‘Queen of Katwe’ is the second runner up. 

‘Queen of Katwe' is a rousing tale of a brilliant Ugandan girl whose humble life is transformed after she realises her gift for chess. India-born Mira Nair, well-known for films like ‘Monsoon Wedding’ (2001), ‘The Namesake’ (2006) and her masterful debut ‘Salaam Bombay!’ (1988), makes another strong and rousing film, which The Guardian said could be the “new Slumdog (Millionaire)”. 

Garth Davis’ ‘Lion’ stars Dev Patel in the demanding lead role of an Indian boy who loses his way from his home in North India to end up in an orphanage and eventually adopted by an Australian couple. Now grown up, Patel’s character embarks on one of the greatest needle-in-a-haystack quests of modern times, to go back in search of his Indian family. ‘Lion’ is Davis’ debut feature.

  Rutwij Nakhwa, studying for his Bachelor's in Mass Media at                                                                St Xavier's College,  Mumbai, is working as an  intern with                                                                    Uma da Cunha and her quarterly magazine 'Film India                                                                          Worldwide'  

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