Anokhi DIY / Entertainment & Gossip / TIFF 2013: The South Asian Connection

TIFF 2013: The South Asian Connection

Anokhi DIY Entertainment & Gossip Sep 05, 2013

The annual 'Toronto International Film Festival' is back for its 38th edition, along with a superb crop of South Asian movies and celebs.

Every year, at varying times throughout the spring and summer, leagues of newly mature Pacific salmon begin the arduous process of migration, fighting and jumping their way upstream to get back to the waters in which they were born so that they too may procreate.

It’s a phenomenon otherwise unseen in nature, save for one two-week period just after Labour Day when each year, like clockwork, filmmakers across the globe — from unknown indie directors in Iran to Hollywood A-listers — feel the irresistible urge to go north and release their own creative offspring.

I’m talking, of course, about the Toronto International Film Festival and, much like the salmon thing, it’s an event both singular and uplifting.

Whether you’re sampling the transcendent cinema, walking the red carpet or simply happening upon an actress from a popular American cable drama dining alone at an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant (totally happened!), the city of Toronto possesses a unique magic this time of year. And in 2013, we here at ANOKHI will bring you closer to it than ever before.

In addition to reviews, we’ll have red carpet coverage, expert style and fashion analysis and exclusive video interviews with actors and directors.

Nothing to report on the red carpet front yet, I’m afraid, but here are some of the films and celebs we’ll have our eye on in the coming weeks.

The South Asian Connection

Bollywood force Irrfan Khan (who’s also been popping up in Hollywood a fair amount these days) headlines two of our most anticipated movies at this year’s fest.

Irrfan Khan in The Lunchbox /Sony Pictures

In The Lunchbox he plays a depressed factory worker who strikes up a sweet relationship with a lonely housewife (Nimrat Kaur) after serendipitously receiving a lunch delivery intended for the woman’s husband.

Anup Singh’s historical drama Qissa, meanwhile, finds Khan stepping into the role of Umber Singh, a Sikh who is prompted to leave his home, after India’s partition in 1947 leads to ethnic cleansing.

As he tries to settle his family in a new town, Singh is confronted with the challenge of preserving their identity even as he’s compelled to hide who they really are from the rest of the community, a task further complicated by his decision to raise his youngest daughter as a boy.

Six years after making his festival debut with heartwarming drama Amal, Canadian director Richie Mehta returns with another in the form of Siddharth, which follows an impoverished father’s bittersweet journey through the streets of India, in search of his possibly-kidnapped son.

Siddhart /

Band Baaja Baaraat director Maneesh Sharma looks to both subvert and celebrate the conventions of romantic comedy with Shuddh Desi Romance. It’s the tale of two 20-somethings (Parineeti Chopra and Sushant Singh Rajput), jaded by their jobs as fake wedding guests, who find themselves behaving like “lovers in a screwball comedy,” despite their best efforts to avoid a traditional love story.

Homegrown Talent

Montreal native Jean-Marc Vallée, directs a near-skeletal Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club, the true story of an AIDS-infected Texan who circumvented the FDA to smuggle alternative medicine into the States, prolonging his life significantly in the process.

Jason Reitman’s “live reads” of classic film scripts using high-profile actors (this year’s will be Boogie Nights, by the way) have become an annual highlight of the festival.

This year, the talented Canuck also has a movie to show us. Labor Day stars Kate Winslet as a reclusive housewife who, along with her adolescent son, offers refuge to a blood-covered convict (Josh Brolin) over one life-changing weekend.

Rest of the Fest

The third film from U.K. auteur Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave tells the harrowing true story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free African American man who was sold to a vicious slave owner (Michael Fassbender) in the 1800s. Brad Pitt and Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch co-star. Early buzz forecasts Oscar nods aplenty.

Speaking of Cumberbatch, he headlines another buzzed-about biopic in Oscar-winner Bill Condon’s The Fifth Estate, with the typically dashing Brit nigh-unrecognizable playing the role of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Children of Men director Alfonso Cuarón comes to T.O. with Gravity, a white-knuckle thriller featuring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as two astronauts fighting for their lives after the lifeline binding them to the ISS is snapped.

A newly engaged Scarlett Johansson stars in Sexy Beast director Jonathan Glazer’s uniquely artsy sci-fi thriller Under the Skin, playing a femme fatale with a secret that’s literally out of this world.

And finally, in what is perhaps the most formally ambitious project at this year’s festival, first-timer Ned Benson directs The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her, two feature-length films about the dissolution of one relationship: the former looking through the eyes of the husband (James McAvoy), the latter told from the perspective of the wife (Jessica Chastain). If nothing else, it should be an interesting experiment.

Keep your browser tuned to for all the latest reviews, interviews and red carpet scoops from TIFF 2013.


Matthew Currie

Matthew Currie


A long-standing entertainment journalist, Currie is a graduate of the Professional Writing program at Toronto’s York University. He has spent the past number of years working as a freelancer for ANOKHI and for diverse publications such as Sharp, TV Week, CAA’s Westworld and BC Business. Currie ...


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