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Amitabh, SRK, Rani to dazzle Toronto film festival

By Arthur J Pais in New York
August 23, 2006 03:08 IST
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Led by Kabhi Alvidaa Naa Kehna director Karan Johar, its stars Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukerji and Amitabh Bachchan will take part in interviews at next month's Toronto International Film Festival.

Also expected in the Canadian city is John Abraham whose Kabul Express premieres at the festival.

Mira Nair's Namesake, based on Jhumpa Lahiri's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, will also premiere at Toronto.

The September 7 to 16 event will draw Hollywood movie stars Brad Pitt, Jude Law, Sandra Bullock, Sigourney Weaver and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Nair, whose Monsoon Wedding had its North American premiere at Toronto on September 11, 2001, will have her new film in the Special Presentation section.

She will then show the film in New York on November 1 at the inauguration of the annual film festival hosted by the Indo-American Arts Council. It will be released through Fox Searchlight in March.

The 31st edition of the Toronto festival, which will screen 352 feature films, documentaries and shorts, has one of the biggest number of films from people of Indian origin this year.

While the likes of Rani Mukerji and Brad Pitt will share the limelight at Toronto, a 21-year-old Australian director of Indian origin could get a lot of media attention as well.

When Murali K Thalluri arrives at Toronto, the Australian filmmaker may speak about how he made his controversial suicide drama 2:37 for about $500,000 when he was about 20. He may also talk about his next film that will cost $10 million.

Adelaide-born Thalluri, reportedly the youngest director to have a film at Toronto this year, will shoot his next movie in about six months. He has not given out any details on the project as yet, telling reporters in Australia: 'Talking about a film dissipates the energy.'

2:37, his debut feature film, has been sold to more than 25 countries, mostly in Europe.

The movie, which received excellent reviews at this year's Cannes Film Festival, opened the Melbourne International Film Festival a few days ago. It ignited controversy in Thalluri's home country when suicide prevention activists complained that it might make suicide attractive to young people.

Thalluri has said he wrote the first draft of the film 36 hours after he attempted suicide at the age of 19, and soon after he received a suicide video note from a now-dead friend. He has hotly denied that he seeks to glamourise suicide. The very fact that he changed his mind about ending his life and lived on to make the film, he has explained, shows his attitude towards suicide.

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Arthur J Pais in New York