18 June, 2021

Can You Ms ’Em? Not In Toronto

Indian woman directors are a fixture at this film festival

On Sky nine
Shonali Bose (centre, seated)
Can You Ms ’Em? Not In Toronto

At the 2019 iteration of the Toronto ­International Film Festival (TIFF), amongst the commercials before the films was one for the in-house endeavour, Share Her Journey, an ­attempt to foster gender ­equity within the industry, particularly within the ranks of creators. The accompanying grid featured 20 women ambassadors of the effort, and five were either from India or of Indian origin: Priyanka Chopra, Rima Das, ­Toronto’s own Deepa Mehta, Mira Nair and documentarian Jennifer Baichwal.

That outsized female presence, though, wasn’t limited to a single still. Over the past five years, projects from women directors or co-directors have accounted for over half of the films ­selected from India for TIFF. In 2019, four films from India arrived at the festival, and three were helmed by women: Geetu Mohandas’s Moothon (The Elder One), Shonali Bose’s The Sky Is Pink and Gitanjali Rao’s Bombay Rose.

Mohandas’s second feature was amongst the path-breaking projects at TIFF 2019. The...

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