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Small town Indian boys make it big at Toronto film festival

Small town Indian boys make it big at Toronto film festival

Toronto, Sept 16 (UNI) When Vineet Kumar Singh wrote his first script about a Bareilly boxer's struggle to win the national title while fighting rivals and corrupt sports administrators at the same time, he may have been talking about his own journey in Indian cinema.
Singh, an actor in Mumbai, went to several producers with the script.
Nobody was willing to cast him in the main role of the boxer, the only condition Singh had.
Four years later, his script found the screen at the 42nd Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which will conclude tomorrow.
'Mukkabaaz', the feature film based on Singh's script and directed by independent filmmaker Anurag Kashypa, was one of the main draws at the Toronto festival.
A lot of credit for that goes to the actor's determination to succeed.
"Nobody was willing to make the movie with me in the lead role until Anurag Kashyap read the script," says Singh, who has acted in many independent films like 'Gangs of Wasseypur', 'Bombay Talkies' and 'Ugly'.
"He said he liked the script and was going to do the film with me," he adds.
Born in Varanasi, Singh struggled for over a decade in Mumbai to realise his dream of becoming an actor.
At the Toronto festival, at least two more small town boys from India had similar stories to tell.
Adil Hussain, one of the few Indian actors who regularly lands a role in an international production, was born in Goalpara town of Assam.
Hussain, who has appeared in films like Ang Lee's 'Life of Pi' and Mira Nair's 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist, plays a major role in Pakistani-origin Norwegian director Iram Haq's 'What Will People Say', a huge draw at the TIFF this year.
An alumnus of the National School of Drama, it took a while for Hussain to get his first big break.
That came in the 2010 Bollywood thriller 'Agent Vinod' and Hussain landed the role of a pharmaceutical company manager in 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist' the same year.
Ali Fazal, who plays the lead role in British director Stephen Frears' 'Victoria and Abdul', was born in Lucknow.
Fazal's first big role came in the 2013 Hindi comedy 'Fukrey'.
In 'Victoria and Abdul', the story of Queen Victoria and her Indian assistant Abdul Karim, Fazal plays one of the biggest roles landed by an Indian actor in a foreign production.
Screened at the Toronto festival, 'Victoria and Abdul' is already talked about in festival circuits as one of the Oscar prospects for next year.
Coming from small towns has given these actors the determination to work harder.
For his boxer's role in 'Mukkabaaz', Vineet Kumar Sigh went to the National Institute of Sports in Patiala, Punjab, to train under a senior national coach.
Singh stayed in the coach's house, training for eight hours everyday for three months.
"The coach told me he won't teach me boxing if I were going to give him money to learn," he adds.
All the three films starring Singh, Hussain and Fazal have charmed the Toronto audience, who vote for the prestigious People's Choice Awards at TIFF.
"Many people who don't follow Indian cinema are surprised to see the high quality of films from India," says TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey.
It will not be a surprise if an Indian film or an international production with Indian actors win the People's Choice Award at the concluding day of the Toronto festival tomorrow.
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