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Film by Rao celebrating Mumbai by making heroes out of unsung heroes screened at Toronto festival

Film by Rao celebrating Mumbai by making heroes out of unsung heroes screened at Toronto festival

Toronto, Sep 8 (UNI) 'Bombay Rose', an animated feature film capturing the spirit of Mumbai and sparkle of Bollywood was screened at the 44th Toronto International Film Festival, becoming only the second animation feature film from India to be shown at the North American festival.

Directed by Mumbai-based animator, actor and filmmaker Gitanjali Rao, 'Bombay Rose' tells the poignant love story of a young club dancer living in the streets of Mumbai and a Kashmiri boy orphaned by militancy. Part of the Contemporary World Cinema section of the Toronto festival, 'Bombay Rose' is a frame-by-frame painted movie.

'Goopi Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya' by Shilpa Ranade, premiered at the Toronto festival's TIFF Kids programme in 2013, was the first Indian animated feature film to be screened in Toronto.

Written and designed by Rao, 'Bombay Rose' draws from true stories of Mumbaikars to weave together a saga of love and hope. A flower seller make garlands while dreaming of a fairy tale romance. A little girl befriends an orphaned deaf boy who has lost his job. An English teacher prepares food and sets a place at the table for her long-dead husband.

"I have always wanted to tell the stories about the unsung heroes who live in and love Bombay, never become success stories, yet their struggle for survival makes heroes out of them," says Rao, whose earlier short animation films have been screened in festivals like Cannes Critics' Week and Valladolid film festival in Spain.

"The use of frame by frame painted animation enables me to traverse seamlessly between the real and the dream world, poetically rather than realistically. Steering away from the convention of using voices and the acting skills of Bollywood stars who do not belong to the milieu of my characters, I believe in encouraging the animators to use their own acting skills to breathe life into them," says Rao.

The North American premiere of 'Bombay Rose' in Toronto on Saturday followed its world premiere at the Venice festival last week where it was the opening film of its sidebar Venice Critics' Week. Rao's short animation 'Printed Rainbow' had won the Best Short Film prize at the Cannes Critics' Week in 2006.

"'Bombay Rose's gorgeously hand-painted images, drawing upon folk art and Bollywood melodrama, allow urban landscapes to suddenly bloom before our eyes," says TIFF co-head and artistic director Cameron Bailey. "Though it delves thoughtfully into weighty themes of poverty, corruption, and migration, the film's look and soundscapes beguile us with their unique rhythms and an enchanting capacity to blur time and place, reality and fantasy, human and animal," adds Bailey.

The film will travel to the Busan international film festival in South Korea during October 3-12 before its India premiere at the Jio MAMI festival in Mumbai to be held during October 17-24.

UNI XC SY 1652

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