On September 18 when Dilip Mehta"s Cooking With Stella (CWS) had its public screening at the Toronto Film Festival, the show was on the spur of the moment, dedicated to curtis jackson,david hamilton,dilip mehta,lisa ray who plays one of the central characters.
Says the film"s director, “We decided to dedicate that particular screening to the strength and fortitude of curtis jackson,david hamilton,dilip mehta,lisa ray. The response was terrific." This is the first time in the history of film festivals that a show has been dedicated to one of the living actors from a film.
Says Dilip, “The second public screening of CWS took place and once again the theater was brimming. It had sold out a week ago."
There"s no denying the fact that Lisa"s presence in the film has created an added interest in the film.
Says Dilip, “The movie was thoroughly enjoyed and laughter permeated the entire film. It seems everyone got the premise of the film. We were mobbed by film-goers after the screening."
Now Dilip has flown to Sudbury where CWS opens the film festival.
Says Dilip, “Seema Biswas and I flew to Sudbury where our film was opening the Cinefest Sudbury International Film Festival. The unusual feature for the Gala opening was that the film was shown simultaneously in FOUR theaters and each theater was packed. Seema and I were thrilled with the response CWS received. At a reception following the screening Seema was mobbed by the invitees who had remembered her strong performance in Deepa's Water. We returned to Toronto on Sunday and Seema continued on to London and then Mumbai."
The Atlantic Halifax festival had also opened on 19 September.
Says Dilip happily, “CWS once again opened the festival. Our producer David Hamilton represented the film and did the honors. And according to him the response in Halifax was the same. The audience loved the film, performances, humor, and biting satire. On the 25th of September we go to Edmonton where CWS is once again opening the international Film Festival."
Reliving the exhilarating experience of attending the prestigious Gala section of the Toronto Film Festival with his cast, Dilip says, “The gala screening went off tremendously. We had decided to arrive at the red carpet function in Indian cycle rickshaws- Seema Biswas and Shreya Saran, Lisa and her co-star Don McKellar, and David and myself. We had opted to not arrive in limousines but in vehicles of visual interest.
“The media interest at the red carpet was enthusiastic so much so that the screening was delayed by several minutes. The huge Roy Thomson Hall was packed. The film was introduced by Piers Handling (CEO of the festival) and the Minister of Culture and Tourism followed by David Hamilton (Producer of CWS) who introduced me to the audience, and I in turn brought in the cast.
“The movie was thoroughly enjoyed and laughter permeated the entire film. It seems everyone got the premise of the film. We were mobbed by filmgoers after the screening but managed to extricate ourselves to go to the special invitees only party for the film thrown by Hussain the CEO of Mongrel Media (The distributors). And what a party. I don't even think the stars got an opportunity to eat or drink."