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Bollywood treat at Toronto Fest

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006 

New Delhi (UNI): It will be a Bollywood treat at the Toronto film festival this year! The 31st edition of the film festival will hold a screening of five Indian films, including the much-awaited Bollywood films, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna and Kabul Express. Trade sources said Karan Johar's most-awaited Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, featuring an ensemble cast of Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Rani Mukerji and Preity Zinta, will be screened at the Film Festival as part of its Gala section. The Gala Presentation section of the festival is reserved for big spectacular films. What makes it a unique honour for the filmmakers is the fact that Kabhi Alvida na Kehna is one of the few Hindi films to be screened for a gala presentation at Toronto. The entire cast of the film, including Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukerji and Preity Zinta are expected to be present at the screening at Toronto on September 10.

The festival, being held between September 7 to 16, generally selects unreleased films. But with KANK, which will hit the Indian screens Aug 11, they have made an exception. Besides Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, the festival will screen four other films including Yashraj films Kabul Express, starring John Abraham and Arshad Warsi, Chitra Palekar's directorial debut A Grave Keeper's Tale starring Nandita Das, Rajnesh Domalpally's Vanaja and Haobam Paban Kumar's A cry in the dark, all of which will have their world premiere at the festival.

According to Noah Cowan, festival Director, the four films were chosen as each of them explores significant social and political issues as among the most poignant contemporary film making from India, South Asia and the World. ''India is a nation of different cultures and languages which make its cinema diverse, dynamic and exciting,'' Cowan said. While Kabul Express, directed by Kabir Khan, is a multilingual film starring John Abraham and Arshad Warsi and set in wartorn post 9/11 Afghanistan; Chitra Palekar's A Grave Keeper's Tale, based on the story Baayen (Witch) by Mahasweta Devi, is a haunting story of a woman condemned to the fringes of her society; Rajnesh Domalpally's Vanaja is about a 15 year old dancer whose blossoming curiosities get her into a world of trouble. Haobam Paban Kumar's A cry in the dark, to be screened under the Real to Reel' Section of the Festival, is a powerful documentary tracing the heightening unrest of the Manipuri people after a 32-year-old woman, taken from her home in 2004 by soldiers of the 17th Assam rifles, was found dead under suspicious circumstances.

''These 4 films demonstrate the impressive range of Indian cinema, and we are thrilled to be part of its future,''the festival director said. This year's Toronto film festival will open with Away From Her, Canadian actor Sarah Polley's debut as a feature filmmaker which stars Gordon Pinsent and Julie Christie as an aging married couple whose relationship is tested when the wife develops Alzheimer's disease.

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