Mumbai-born Vasan Bala’s superhero movie, Mard ko Dard Nahin Hota (The Man Who Feels No Pain) has won the Toronto film festival’s prestigious Grolsch People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award. “It is a huge honour for an independent filmmaker,” said Bala, whose parents came to Mumbai from Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu. The film, which pays tribute to action comedies of the ‘70s and ‘80s, tells the story of a young man born with a disorder that makes him immune to pain.
The Toronto festival’s Midnight Madness programmes is known for its entries with quirkly tales and an energetic audience. The movies of Midnight Madness are screened at the Ryerson Theatre of the Ryerson University at midnight everyday.
Mard ko Dard Nahin Hota is the first ever Indian film to be screened in the Toronto festival’s Midnight Madness programme. London-based Indian director Sandhya Suri won the Best International Short Film Award for The Field, about a woman farm worker, shot in India.
Thirty-five per cent of films at the festival this year were directed by women. ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ by Martin McDonagh had won the People’s Choice Award last year. Previous winners of the Toronto festival’s People’s Choice Award, which sets the Oscar Awards race, include ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, ‘La La Land’ and ’12 Years a Slave’.
Indian entries at the Toronto festival this year included ‘The Sweet Requiem’ by Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, Anand Patwardhan’s ‘Vivek’ (Reason), Vasan Bala’s ‘Mard ko Dard Nahi Hota’ (The Man Who Feels No Pain), Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Manmarziyaan’ (Husband Material), ‘Bulbul Can Sing’ by Rima Das and Manto by Nandita Das.
The new Euromages Audentia Award for Best Female Director was bagged by Aalam-Warqe Davidian for ‘Fig Tree’. The jury for Network for the Promotion of Asian Pacific Cinema, headed by Fiji-born filmmaker Vilsoni Hereniko, awarded the Best Asia-Pacific Film prize to
The Toronto Platform Prize, the TIFF’s competition section introduced three years ago, went to ‘Cities of Last Things’ by Wi Ding Ho.
The Platform Prize jury comprised of Indian filmmaker Mira Nair, Hungarian director Béla Tarr, and acclaimed South Korean director and novelist Lee Chang-dong. In its fourth year, Platform programme had 12 films this year.
The Midnight Madness Award First Runner-Up was ‘Halloween’ by David Gordon and Second Runner-Up was ‘Assassination Nation’ by Sam Levinson.
Irish film ‘Float Like a Butterlfy’ about a female boxer in Ireland in the 2960s by Carmel Winters won the FIPRESCI (International Federation of Critics) Prize in the Discovery section of the festival. Skin by Guy Nattiv won the FIPRESCI prize in the Special Presentations section. Bangalore-based critic Viswanath Subrahmanyan was a member of the FIPRESCI jury headed by Australian critic Lesley Chow.
The 11-day Toronto film festival, which concluded today, had 342 feature and short films this year. The festival came to a close tonight with the screening of the People’s Choice Award winner, ‘Greenbook’.