Toronto, Bollywood beauty Priyanka Chopra dazzled the Toronto audience as Ashutosh Gowariker’s “What’s Your Rashee?” brought the curtains down on the last day of the 34th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) here.
Gowariker, Priyanka and actor Hurman Baweja were given the ceremonial red carpet reception at the city’s Roy Thomson Hall where the film premiered Saturday. And festival co-director Cameron Bailey was on hand to welcome the trio.
“It is an honour to have India’s great and very diverse director (Gowariker) here with us today. We welcomed him here in 2001 with ‘Lagaan’ and we welcome him here again,” said Bailey.
Unlike 2001, Gowariker said, Saturday was a special day for him as it was the first time his film was being premiered at one of the world’s top film festivals.
“I am apprehensive, waiting in anticipation how the film is received back in India when it is released next week. I hope the planets (rashee) are with me,” Gowariker told IANS.
Waving to the crowd in the theatre hall, Priyanka said she was thrilled to be at the Toronto film festival for the first time. She asked the audiences to be forgiving as it was her first film premiere at a major international festival.
Looking a little bewildered, Hurman, who plays the role of Yogesh Patel, said they all worked very hard on the film and he was excited to see it being premiered at the Toronto fest.
In the packed hall, the audience enjoyed every moment as the over three-hour-long film unfolded on the big screen.
After initially switching between India and Chicago, the plot settles on NRI Yogesh Patel’s Gujarati family as the search begins for a bride for him.
Shortlisting 165 girls who respond to their matrimonial ad to just 12 – each of one sun sign – Yogesh and his family start meeting each girl, starting with the Aries sun sign.
Twelve songs – one for each sun sign – keep the plot afloat as Priyanka changes chameleon-like from the role of one girl to the other.
If she is homely in one role, she is a bold student in the other, a dedicated doctor in another and a corporate in the next. If in one role she says she knows nothing about love, in the next she frankly admits to having an affair with someone.
In between, Gowariker has thrown in a little bit of the bhai (don) world to add variety to the plot.
“What’s Your Rashee?” was the second Bollywood film to be premiered this year at the festival after “Dil Bole Hadippa”, which stars Rani Mukerji and Shahid Kapoor.
But many other India-specific films were also screened at the film festival this year.
These included “Window” (Janala) by Buddhadeb Dasgupta, “The Man Beyond the Bridge” (Paltodacho Munis) by Laxmikant Shetgaonkar, “Road, Movie” by Dev Benegal, and “Cooking with Stella” by Dilip Mehta.
There were also quite a few films that were either partly shot in India or have Indian connections. “The Waiting City” by Claire McCarthy revolved around an Australian couple coming to Kolkata to adopt a child.
“Google Baby” by Zippi Brand Frank depicts the business of surrogacy motherhood in Gujarat.
“The Joneses”, the highly-rated American film by Derrick Borte, had equity from India’s Vistaar Religare Film Fund.