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Bangalore's Canadian connection

The 30th Toronto International Film Festival will feature Babu Eshwar Prasad's short film



NEW HIGH Babu Ehswar Prasad's Dus Ka Bees works entirely with images of posters

The 30th Toronto International Film Festival promises to present the best in Canadian cinema and feature films from more than 50 countries, screening more than 300 films in 14 categories. The Festival opens on September 8 with the world premiere of Water, directed by Deepa Mehta. The final film in Mehta's trilogy on the elements following Fire (1996) and Earth (1998).

Water is the tale of a child bride, Chuyia who is exiled to a widow's ashram to live out her days after her husband's death. The film stars Lisa Ray and Seema Biswas as Chuyia's fellow-ashramites, while John Abraham plays the role of a young upper-class Gandhian idealist who courts Lisa.


Deepa, however, is not the only Indian connection with Toronto this September. A short film of Bangalore's own Babu Eshwar Prasad is set to kick off a concurrent event, Tamasha! A Celebration of Bollywood Art! being organised by SAVAC at the Design Exchange, Toronto, on September 9.

SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Collective) is a Toronto-based, artist-run, non-profit organisation, involved in the development and presentation of contemporary visual arts by artists of South Asian origin within Canada and internationally. This year's Tamasha! incorporates several programmes like Bollywoodchaat, a looped thirty-minute engagement of international film and video shorts inspired by Bollywood, a session with pioneers in film art, Shaikh Arts, Mumbai, and an exhibition of movie posters collected from the 1950's to depict many styles and themes of Indian cinema.

Babu Eshwar Prasad's Dus Ka Bees (2.28min) which is the opening shot of Bollywood Chaat, works entirely with images of posters to highlight the distinct ingredients of sex and violence in popular Indian cinema. With rapid-fire sequences strung together to the accompaniment of a brisk and expressive musical jingle, the film turns out to be an audio-visual stunner. As the awesome spectacle unfolds towards an incredible climax, the benumbed audience is taken on a spiral, spiked by comic-irony.

Year-long project

It took nearly a year for Babu to complete the film, which involved scanning, shooting, editing, and literally peeling! hundreds of film posters. The young artist doubled as the editor and sound recordist, thus making this incredible film his very own personal offering. Dus Ka Bees is Babu's third film after the poetic Notes from my Diary (1997, 6 min) and the hilariously farcical Splice (2003, 2.5 mins). It has been released in a couple of screenings in Bangalore to a discerning audience which has responded to its sharp wit and bitter sarcasm.

Besides Babu's film, Bollywood Chaat also showcases eight other short films. These include Bani Abidi's (Pakistan) ...So he started singing (3.15min), an emphatic retelling of a zany Bollywood plot by a passionate aficionado, Gurriya (2.36 min) by Faisal Anwar (Canada) which uses digital special effects to create a dreamlike world of memories, and In Scrum in the Mud (2.30 min) by Simone Ahuja (USA), featuring popular Bollywood actor Rahul Bose who plays rugby and comments on war.

ATHREYA

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