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‘Talvar’ premieres at Toronto International Film Festival

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Toronto: Meghna Gulzar’s upcoming Talvar (named Guilty in international markets) premiered at the ongoing 40th Toronto International Film Festival. Shree Paradkar, Editor of Toronto Star was present at the screening. However, this was not any ordinary experience for her. Paradkar is Aarushi Talwar’s Aunt and she watched her niece’s murder story play out in front of her eyes.

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The ‘Noida double murders’ case became a sensation in the country in 2008 which involved the dual murders of Aarushi Talwar, 13 and the household help Hemraj Banjade, 45. Aarushi’s parents were convicted thereafter and are currently serving a life sentence in jail for the murder of their own daughter.

September 14th welcomed a packed screening of the movie at the film festival. Recalling her experience, Paradkar realized that she was more like her sister Nupur than she thought. She admitted to bracing herself to see a portrayal of Aarushi. However, it was seeing her character alive moments before the murder that was nearly her undoing. She expressed her relief at the fact that the characters and facts shown were not embellished for the sake if dramatization.

The film presents three versions of events as the investigators go through the murder weapons, motives, etc. The only scene that was able to overwhelm her was the one in which a dental clinic assistant slashes Aarushi’s character’s throat. She confesses her complaint with the film regarding only the incompetence shown on the investigators’ part and not their “malice or criminal wrongdoings”.

Starring Irrfan Khan, Konkona Sen Sharma and Neeraj Kabi, Talvar releases in India on October 2.

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Aarushi Talwar Murder Mystery : Vishal Bhardwaj Calls the Verdict a ‘Victory of Cinema’

Vishal Bhardwaj had written and co-produced the Konkona Sharma starer "Talvar" on the murder of the teenage girl from Noida

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Vishal Bhardwaj
Film Director Vishal Bhardwaj. Wikimedia

Mumbai, October 13, 2017 : Vishal Bhardwaj says because of “Talvar”, which he wrote and co-produced, the Aarushi Talwar murder case and its various investigation theories came to limelight once again. On the acquittal of the teenage girl’s parents in the case, the filmmaker says it’s a victory of cinema.

The Allahabad High Court on Thursday acquitted Rajesh and Nupur Talwar.

 “I think there is no better victory of cinema than this as it has made impact like this and that exactly what we wanted. It is amazing news and we are so happy for the family, and especially the parents, but the saddest part is that we can’t bring back their nine years in which they struggled to get justice. It’s also a big victory of the Indian judicial system,” Vishal Bhardwaj said.
Asked if the film generated any kind of awareness among the audience, Bhardwaj said: “I think because of our film, their case came to limelight at least for some period of time because earlier things which were under surface came into public eye with our film. In the investigation, there were many aspects which were doubtful and in our film, we took neutral stance and we didn’t take anyone’s side.

“We showed what happened in investigation and what proceedings were carried out by both investigating agencies that was Delhi Police and CBI in the film. So in the outcome, it made things pretty clear”

Vishal Bhardwaj was present for the opening ceremony of the Jio MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival here along with actress Konkona Sen Sharma, who acted in the 2015 movie directed by Meghna Gulzar.

Konkona said: “Its fantastic news. It’s really a shame that it took us nine years for their innocence that has been proven. Its tragedy is also that we still don’t know who the killers of Hemraj (house help) and Aarushi are but I am very happy for Talwars.”

Actor Sohum Shah, who also featured in the movie, said in a statement: “Before commencing the shoot, I was very confused and curious about this case. I wanted to know the truth but I didn’t want to create an opinion sitting at home. We tend to make an opinion by seeing the TV or believe loose talk. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to know the truth.

“I am very happy because somewhere or the other they are saved from injustice. I hope that the crimals are caught as soon as possible and the law gives them a harsh punishment.” (IANS)

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Movies at Toronto International Film Festival will increase audience’s excitement, raise debates on burning issues

Many of the films at Toronto International Film Festival will talk about relevant topics like equality in Hollywood, politics in Washington

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Sally Hawkins, left, and Octavia Spencer in a scene from
Sally Hawkins, left, and Octavia Spencer in a scene from "The Shape of Water." The movie premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival. VOA
  • “The Battle of the sexes” starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell talks about issue of gender equality- in both pay disparity and directing opportunity
  • It’s a great thing for the filmmakers to have what is usually a pretty film-oriented, film-loving audience
  • The filmmakers say they are expecting a variety of opinions in any one audience at Toronto International Film Festival

New York, USA, September 7, 2017: Few institutions in cinema can match the teeming, overwhelming Toronto International Film Festival as a conversation-starting force. It simply has a lot of movies worth talking about.

And this year, many of the films that will parade down at Toronto International Film Festival’s red carpets will hope to shift the dialogue not just in terms of awards buzz, but in other directions, too: equality in Hollywood; politics in Washington; even about nature of the movies, themselves. At TIFF, expect debate.

That’s what the filmmakers behind “The Battle of the Sexes,” one of the anticipated films heading to Toronto International Film Festival in the coming days, are hoping for. After the festival opens today with another tennis movie, the rivalry drama “Borg/McEnroe,” at Toronto International Film Festival with Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (the directing duo who helmed 2006’s “Little Miss Sunshine”) will premiere their drama about the 1973 showdown between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.

The movie, starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell, holds obvious parallels for a movie industry with its own issues of gender equality, in both pay disparity and directing opportunity. For others, it will recall issues that dominated last year’s U.S. presidential campaign. But “Battle of the Sexes” may surprise moviegoers in its broad sympathies on both sides of the net.

“The one thing we didn’t want to have happened was this polarizing political document,” said Dayton. “Right now, there’s enough of that in the world. We wanted to tell a more personal story and keep it from becoming too binary.”

The filmmakers say they are expecting “a variety of opinions in any one audience” at Toronto International Film Festival.

“It’s really the best way to release a film, at a festival like Telluride or Toronto,” said Faris. “It’s a great way to get the word out about a film. It’s a great thing for the filmmakers to have what is usually a pretty film-oriented, film-loving audience. It gives you hope that they’re still out there.”

Actress Priyanka Chopra, left, chats with the director and CEO of TIFF Piers Handling at the TIFF Soiree, an annual fundraiser and celebratory kick-off for the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Sept. 6, 2017, in Toronto
Actress Priyanka Chopra, left, chats with the director and CEO of TIFF Piers Handling at the TIFF Soiree, an annual fundraiser and celebratory kick-off for the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Sept. 6, 2017, in Toronto. VOA

The Toronto International Film Festival comes right on the heels of the Venice and Telluride festivals, but the size and scope of Toronto have long made it the centerpiece of the fall movie season. It’s where much of the coming awards season gets handicapped, debated and solidified. It’s also a significant market for new films, and this year several intriguing films — “I, Tonya,” with Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding, and “Hostiles,” a brutal Western with Christian Bale — are on the block.

But most eyes will be on the gala premieres of the fall’s biggest films at Toronto International Film Festival, including Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing,” Guillermo Del Toro’s “The Shape of Water,” George Clooney’s “Suburbicon,” and maybe the most explosive movie of the season, Darren Aronofsky’s mystery-shrouded allegorical thriller “mother!”

It can be a competitive landscape, with dozens of daily movie premieres and their respective parties, all trying to stand out. But several first-time directors may end up stealing the spotlight at Toronto International Film Festival. Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird” will sail into Toronto on waves of rave reviews from Telluride. Aaron Sorkin, arguably the top screenwriter in Hollywood for two decades, will present his directorial debut, “Molly’s Game.”

Sorkin didn’t initially anticipate he’d direct his script. But he became, he says, obsessed with the story of Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain), the former elite skier who was indicted for running a high-stakes poker game in Los Angeles. It’s a potentially career-redefining movie for Sorkin — and he’s appropriately anxious.

“I’d feel the same way if we were launching it in Wyoming. I’m nervous because other than test audiences, this will be the first time people see it,” said Sorkin. “The Toronto Film Festival is a very prestigious place to debut a film, so I’m aware of the company I’m in and what’s expected in the movie. It will be up to others to decide if it delivered.”

“The Disaster Artist” poses a similar turning point for its star and director, James Franco. It’s about the making of what’s widely considered one of the worst movies ever made — the cult favorite “The Room,” by Tommy Wiseau. Franco, who plays Wiseau, considers it a new step for him as a filmmaker and says the film’s parody is laced with affection.

“The characters are outsiders. They are weirdos,” said Franco. “But everybody can relate to having a dream and trying to break into this incredibly hard business.”

The film will premiere to a surely raucous audience at a midnight screening. Franco, who first saw “The Room” with an especially excitable Vancouver audience, expects it to be the perfect debut for his film: “Canadians know how to do ‘The Room.”’

“The Disaster Artist,” which A24 will release in December, might give TIFF what “La La Land” did last year — a happily escapist movie about Hollywood. Other films will tackle less comic real-life tales, including Angelina Jolie’s searing Cambodia drama “First They Killed My Father,” the Winston Churchill biopic “Darkest Hour,” with Gary Oldman; and the documentary “The Final Year,” about the last year of Barack Obama’s administration.

Cameron Bailey, artistic director of the festival, said Trump’s presidency “was not a factor in the films we selected,” though he expects it to color the reception of many.

“Some of them will be received with the current political climate in mind,” said Bailey. “One of the things I think you learn from films like (the Watergate drama) ‘Mark Felt’ and (the Ted Kennedy drama) ‘Chappaquiddick’ and others that we have here is that the process of politics is not a pretty one. It involves a lot of conflicted motives, shall we say.”

And who better to make sense of the current political landscape than Armando Iannucci (“Veep,” “The Thick of It”), the master of rapid-fire political farce. In his second feature film, “The Death of Stalin,” he travels back to 1950s Russia only to find an expectedly timely tale of the madcap machinations of political power.

“It is bizarre, isn’t it? When I started showing it to people in January and February earlier this year, people said it resonated with Trump and Putin and fake news,” said Iannucci. “It is about autocracy. It is about what happens when democracy falls apart and one person decides everything. I’m kind of glad it does resonate now. But am I pleased?” (VOA)

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I’d rather be ahead of time than be outdated: Filmmaker Meghna Gulzar

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New Delhi: In 2002, when experimental cinema was not as welcome as it is today, Meghna Gulzar dared to be different with “Filhaal…”, a film on surrogacy. The filmmaker is only glad she is “ahead of time” with her creativity.

Photo credit: fastnewsrelease.com
Photo credit: fastnewsrelease.com

” ‘Filhaal…’, even though it was appreciated, didn’t do very well commercially. Back then, people had said, and even continue to say, that had ‘Filhaal…’ been released now, it would have made more sense.

“Yes, it was ahead of its time. But I am fine with that. I would rather be that than be outdated,” Meghna, the daughter of celebrated writer Gulzar and veteran actress Rakhee, told IANS in an interview.

It is streaks of her father’s filmography as a director — works like “Koshish”, which was on a deaf-and-mute couple; “Achanak” inspired by the crime of passion that was the K.M. Nanavati case; and “Libaas”, a film on extra-marital affairs which remains unreleased in India till date — that find reflection in the works of Meghna. She says her basic “attempt is always to do something relevant and contemporary”.

“Sometimes it will work, sometimes it won’t work…but that is what creativity is about,” added the director, who admits that “much better kind of films are being made today, making it a great time for Indian cinema”.

On the relevance of films, Meghna’s forthcoming film “Talvar” — a retelling of three investigation theories behind the Aarushi Talwar-Hemraj murder case — comes at an apt time when the Sheena Bora murder case has been keeping people at the edge of their seats.

She couldn’t agree more, and averred that “cinema has been reflecting society since before”, and it continues to be so.

“When farmers’ plight was an issue, when labourers had problems, we had ‘Do Bigha Zameen’…when the industrial and middle workers’ problems were an issue, we had films and characters based on that. Right now we are making films on parents killing children because that is what is happening in society,” said the 41-year-old, who is a mother herself.

Nevertheless, she pointed out: “I am not saying everyone is conscientious… some maybe climbing the bandwagon for the controversy or the scandal. But having said that, I don’t think it’s like that across the board.”

Citing relevant examples to back her point, Meghna, who assisted her writer-filmmaker father for movies like “Maachis” and “Hu Tu Tu”, said: “When ‘Bandit Queen’ was made, it was not because of the scandal, it was because the maker felt the story needed to be told. When ‘Maachis’ and ‘Border’ were made, these were stories that needed to be told.

“It’s not the intent of making films on real events which is scandalous, it is when the incident itself is scandalous that the film becomes scandalous.”

As far as “Talvar” is concerned, it delves on the sensational killing of 14-year-old Aarushi and her family’s 45-year-old servant Hemraj Banjade — a case in which Aarushi’s parents were convicted in November 2013 and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The film, starring powerhouse performers such as Irrfan Khan, Tabu and Konkona Sen Sharma, opened to a rousing response at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) earlier this month — setting the expectations high among Indian audiences, who will be able to watch it on screens on October 2.

Radhika Bhirani, IANS