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TIFF 2021: A curtain raiser

Murtaza Ali Khan



The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is set to be back in all its glory this year. The 46th edition of the festival, scheduled to be held from September 9 to 18, 2021 will again be held in a hybrid form; with both physical and digital screenings due to the ongoing pandemic. The lineup includes over 100 films, which means that it is comparatively smaller than the pre-pandemic TIFFs; but it’s significantly better than last year’s lineup when only 50 films were screened.

The opening film this year would be Stephen Chbosky’s ‘Dear Evan Hansen’—an adaptation of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s 2015 stage musical of the same name. The film will have its world premiere at the 2021 TIFF on September 9, 2021 as its opening Night Gala Presentation. The festival’s closing film will be the legendary Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou’s ‘One Second,’ the director of films like: ‘Raise the Red Lantern,’ ‘Hero,’ ‘House of Flying Daggers,’ and ‘Shadow,’

Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Dune’, Asghar Farhadi’s ‘A Hero’, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s ‘Memoria’ in the ‘Special Events’ segment are among the festival’s biggest crowd pullers. But the festival has so much more to offer. And we must take a look at some of the other major attractions this year.


This year at TIFF, everyone will have their eyes on Kenneth Branagh whose most personal film till date ‘Belfast’ will be screened as part of the Gala presentations. The Academy Award-nominated British writer, director, and actor will join the festival as part of ‘In Conversation With…’ series to discuss his journey, the charm of adapting Shakespeare’s plays for the big screen, and the story behind the making of ‘Belfast’.

Walt Becker’s ‘Clifford the Big Red Dog’ will also have its world premiere as part of the Gala presentations. The segment will also screen Will Sharpe’s ‘The Electrical Life of Louis Wain’ (Canadian Premiere), Alison Klayman’s ‘Jagged’ (World Premiere), Edgar Wright’s highly anticipated film ‘Last Night in Soho’ (North American Premiere), Mélanie Laurent’s ‘The Mad Women’s Ball’ (World Premiere), and Barry Levinson’s post World War II saga ‘The Survivor’ (World Premiere), which stars Ben Foster in the role of a boxer—haunted by the memories and his guilt, having fought fellow prisoners in the concentration camps to survive—who attempts to use high-profile fights against boxing legends like Rocky Marciano as a way to find his first love again.


A major attraction of this segment is English filmmaker Terence Davies’ ‘Benediction’ (World Premiere), which explores the turbulent life of First World War poet, Siegfried Sassoon—a complex man who survived the horrors of fighting in World War I and was decorated for his bravery but who became a vocal critic of the government’s continuation of the war when he returned from service. Sassoon’s poetry was inspired by his experiences on the Western Front and he became one of the leading war poets of the era.

Another important film to look out for in this segment is Michael McGowan’s ‘All My Puny Seasons’ (World Premiere) starring Alison Pill and Sarah Gadon. Based on Miriam Toews’ internationally acclaimed bestselling novel of the same name, the film follows the story of two loving sisters: one a gifted pianist (essayed by Gadon) obsessed with ending her life, the other a struggling writer (portrayed by Pill) who, in wrestling with this decision, makes profound discoveries about herself.

The segment will also screen Mia Hansen-Love’s ‘Bergman Island’ (International Premiere), Eric Warin and Tahir Rana’s ‘Charlotte’ (World Premiere), Michael Pearce’s ‘Encounter’ (International Premiere), Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s ‘Drive My Car’ (North American Premiere), Bent Hamer’s ‘The Middle Man’ (World Premiere), Theodore Melfi’s ‘The Starling’ (World Premiere), Antoine Fuqua’s ‘The Guilty’ (World Premiere), and Joachim Trier’s ‘The Worst Person In The World’ (North American Premiere), among others.


Finnish filmmaker Juho Kuosmanen’s ‘Compartment No. 6’ which won the Grand Prix at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival is a major attraction of this segment. The film follows a young Finnish woman who escapes an enigmatic love affair in Moscow by boarding a train to the Arctic port of Murmansk. Some other films to watch out for in this segment include Sébastien Pilote’s ‘Maria Chapdelaine’, Alexandre Moratto’s ‘7 Prisoners’, Mounia Aki’s ‘Costa Brava, Lebanon’, Manuel Martín Cuenca’s ‘The Daughter’, Clint Bentley’s ‘Jockey’, Juanjo Giménez’ ‘Out of Sync’, Kira Kovalenko’s ‘Unclenching the Fists’,e Steve Pink’s ‘The Wheel’, and Blaine Thurier’s ‘Kicking Blood’—an ultra-modern spin on the vampire genre which evokes cult-horror figures like George A. Romero and Stuart Gordon.


Arsalan Amiri’s ‘Zalava’, set in 1978, follows the inhabitants of a small village in Iran called Zalava who claim there is a demon among them. The film is a part of the ‘Midnight Madness’ segment which also features Kate Dolan’s ‘You Are Not My Mother’. Ivan Grbovic’s ‘Drunken Birds’ is another interesting film to watch out for, along with Darin J. Sallam’s ‘Farha’, Javier Andrade’s ‘Lo Invisible’, and Haya Waseem’s brilliant film ‘Quickening’, starring Arooj Azeem, Ashir Azeem, and Bushra Ashir Azeem, which explores the life of a young woman of colour navigating love, heartbreak, and family turmoil.

Mohammed Abugeth and Daniel Carsenty’s documentary film ‘The Devil’s Drivers’ (World Premiere) presents an intimate and harrowing portrait of a group of smugglers risking everything on high-speed trips to help Palestinian workers cross the border into Israel every day for work. Stefan Forbes’ ‘Hold Your Fire’ takes us to the beginning of the longest hostage siege in NYPD history when four young African-American men stealing guns for self-defense in Brooklyn were cornered by the NYPD in the year 1973. The documentary uncovers what really happened in this landmark event which has the potential to revolutionize American policing. Gian Cassini’s captivating documentary ‘Comala’ follows the director on his personal journey in search of his absent father, discovering the ghosts of Mexico’s failed war on drugs along the way.

Agustina San Martín’s ‘To Kill the Beast’ follows the 17-year-old Emilia who arrives in a religious town on the border between Argentina and Brazil, looking for her long-lost brother. She stays in the jungle at her aunt’s hostel where, according to rumors, a dangerous beast appeared a week ago. This beast, people claim, is the spirit of an evil man that takes the shape of different animals.

Created and executive produced by Halaifonua Finau and Tom Hern, The Panthers, one of only four series to be shown in the TIFF Primetime Program, follows Will Ilolahia, who along with a group of young street gangsters and university students, form The Polynesian Panthers (which celebrated their 50th anniversary this year) in the 1970s.

TIFF 2021 also has a segment titled ‘Shot Cuts’ dedicated to short films. Also, ‘TIFF Rewind’ will screen classics like ‘The Training Day’ and ‘Eastern Promises.’

Zacharias Kunuk’s ‘Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner’ will be screened as part of ‘TIFF Cinemathèque’. And, just like last year, the ‘Industry Selects’ program will screen films only for industry professionals, acting as a film market owing to the continued COVID-19 pandemic which has severely impacted the ability of filmmakers and critics to travel to international film festivals.

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Lifestyle & Entertainment

Actor Shefali Shah tests positive for COVID-19 on 17 August



Shefali Shah

Bollywood actor Shefali Shah has been tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. Recently Shah was seen in the movie ‘Darlings’ along with Gangubai actor Alia Bhatt.

Taking to Instagram Shefali said, “I have tested positive for COVID-19. Have immediately isolated myself and will be under home quarantine. I am following all safety products under home quarantine. I am following all safety protocols under the advice of my doctors. Requesting everyone who came in contact with me to get tested immediately too.”

Meanwhile, several fans and well-wishers flooded the social media post’s comment section and wished her a speedy recovery. Actors like Achint Kaur, Saba Pataudi, and Gurpreet Kaur Chadha also wished speedy recovery messages.

Moreover, Shefali will be next seen in ‘Delhi Crime Season 2’ which will release on Netflix on 28 August. However, ‘Doctor G’ will release on 3 December.

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‘Shameful that atrocities on Kashmiri Pandits continue today’, says Anupam Kher



Anupam Kher

Veteran Bollywood actor Anupam Kher on Tuesday condemned the killing of a Kashmiri Pandit by a terrorist in the Kashmir Valley.

“Shameful that atrocities on Kashmiri Pandits continue today. They’re killing even their own people. They are killing everyone who stands with India. This has been happening for the past 30 years. The more you condemn it, the less it’s. We’ll have to change the mindset,” Kher said.

Earlier on Tuesday, a Kashmiri Pandit was shot dead at an apple orchard in Jammu and Kashmir by terrorists. In the Chotipara area, the incident took place.

Meanwhile, the deceased have been identified as Sunil Kumar Bhar and his brother Pintu who sustained injuries.

The areas have been cordoned and the injured person has been shifted to the hospital.

Moreover in June 2022, a bank manager named Vijay Kumar has shot dead and on 31 May a female Hindu teacher, Rajni Bala was shot dead by terrorists in the Kulgam district.

However, Anupam Kher a Kashmiri Pandit starred in this year’s hit movie ‘The Kashmir Files’. The movie showed the life of Kashmiri Pandits during the 1990 Kashmir insurgency.

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Raju Srivastava on ventilator, manager informs about slow recovery



Raju Srivastava

Comedian Raju Srivastava was hospitalised on August 10 after having a heart attack. Later, Raju had an angioplasty for the same, and he is currently on a ventilator. Raju’s management said in a new media exchange that the actor is gradually getting better.

Raju’s manager, Nayan Soni, stated, “Raju’s condition is slowly getting better. He is responding to the treatment. There is an improvement in his health and he can now move his body parts a bit. He continues to remain in the ICU and on a ventilator. Doctors have informed us that it will take about a week for him to regain consciousness.”

In a message posted on Raju Srivastava’s official Instagram profile last week, his family stated that his status was “stable” and urged people to “ignore any rumour or fake news being propagated.

The statement on social media read, “Dear all, Raju Srivastava Ji’s condition is stable. We are praying for his speedy recovery. The doctors are treating him and are doing their best. Thanks to all the well-wishers for their continued love and support. Please ignore any rumours or fake news being circulated. Please pray for him.”

According to reports, actor Amitabh Bachchan sent Raju an audio message wishing him a swift recovery ” It’s enough Raju. Rise up Raju, and keep teaching us all to laugh.”

The movies Maine Pyar Kiya, Baazigar, Bombay to Goa, and Aamdani Atthanni Kharcha Rupaiya are some of movies featuring Raju. He also made an appearance in Bigg Boss’ third season. He gained notoriety for his superb comic timing after his appearance as a stand-up comedian on the programme The Great Indian Laughter Challenge. He is the Uttar Pradesh Film Development Council’s chairman.

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Prabhas and Prashanth Neel’s movie ‘Salaar’ is to release on 28 September 2023




‘Bahubali’ actor Prabhas is in the headlines these days for his upcoming project ‘Salaar’. On the occasion of 15 August, the makers of the film released a new poster of the film.

Taking to Twitter Prashanth Neel said, “Rebel’ling worldwide on Sep 28, 2023. #Salaar #TheEraOfSalaarBegins #Prabhas @VKiragandur @hombalefilms @shrutihaasan @PrithviOfficial @IamJagguBhai @sriyareddy @bhuvangowda84 @RaviBasrur @shivakumarart @anbariv @SalaarTheSaga.”

Sharing the new poster of ‘Salaar’ on social media, Prabhas wrote in the caption, “#TheEraOfSalaarBegins. See you at the cinemas from 28.09.2023. #Salaar.”

Meanwhile, the movie is scheduled to release on 28 September 2023 and is directed by Prashanth Neel, who made blockbuster movies like KGF.

Moreover, the movie is produced by Vijay Kiragandur. ‘Salaar’ is a high-voltage action movie, full of adventure. It has been shot in many countries like India as well as the Middle East and Africa. Prabhas will be seen in the most creepy avatar ever.

The first schedule of the project has already been completed and Prabhas will soon concentrate on completing the last schedule of the film.

However, besides Prabhas the movie also stars Shruti Haasan, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Jagapathi Babu, Ishwari Rao, and Sriya Reddy. The movie will be released in five languages ​​across India.

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Navigating Depression: 4 Activities to Make you Want to Get out of Bed



Navigating the symptoms of depression is a formidable challenge that takes more than just medication and therapy. It demands every ounce of willpower, inner strength, and courage one possesses to get out of bed and greet the sunshine when all you want to do is bury yourself under the sheets.To fight this complicated and multifaceted battle, it is important to surround yourself with a powerful support system governed by your family and friends. Research reveals that minor modifications to one’s daily diet, lifestyle, and habits can work wonders at fighting off despair and fatigue.Depression drains our energies and deprives us of our will to lead a happy, healthy life. And that’s exactly how you can beat it: reclaiming your life, energies, happiness, and resolve to be healthy and happy.Read on to explore meaningful activities and habits that will make you want to get out of bed and have a fulfilling day.

1.    Sweat off the Sadness

It’s hard to channel your inner workout warrior when your biggest life struggle is getting out of bed and taking a shower. The suggestion that you should exercise may seem like a horrible joke given your current state of mind, but sweating off the sadness truly helps.Clinical studies suggest that going for a walk or engaging in any form of physical activity is as effective as antidepressants and other medications designed to treat depression symptoms. In fact, regular exercise elevates energy levels and prevents depressive episodes from reoccurring.Depression encourages us to give in to the exhaustion and stay curled up under layers of sheets. We suggest claiming small victories, like a stroll to your favorite coffee joint or a walk around the park, to rebuild your stamina and improve your mood. Consider signing up for fun dance classes, yoga sessions, or another workout that you find genuinely enjoyable.

2.    Fight Back for Things you Love

The symptoms of depression push us away from every activity and hobby that adds meaning or pleasure to our lives. Artists struggle to paint again, adventurers lose interest in nature trails, and musicians can’t seem to hold their beloved instruments again.Fighting back for the things and activities you love is imperative to reclaim your personality. Indulging in meaningful and constructive pleasures will help you fill up your daily routine with activities that allow you to reconnect with your real self.For instance, nature enthusiasts can join a hiking group to explore nearby state parks and trails. Likewise, high-rollers can relive the nostalgia of blackjack spreads and gaming slots at a casino online. Artists should consider an art retreat, and makeup enthusiasts must brighten up their social calendars with fun-packed events that give them opportunities to dress up and socialize. Indulging yourself in activities that you loved before depressive symptoms began emerging is constructive and effective. It will help uplift your mood, increase energy levels and motivate you to fight back against depression-induced fatigue and despair.

3.    Connect with Mother Nature

The therapeutic powers of Mother Nature have given birth to innumerable therapies, including forest therapy, adventure therapy, therapeutic farming, and animal-aided interventions. Studies suggest that simply walking through a beautiful natural landscape helps alleviate the symptoms of clinical depression.Spending more time in the wilderness will help improve your mood, energy levels, and cognitive abilities. Plan fun picnics in your local state park, go hiking with your friends or plan a camping adventure with your family. Connecting with nature will help you soak up vitamin D, serenity, and nature-induced happy endorphins.

4.    Scribble Away the Hopelessness

Patients struggling with depression are overwhelmed by feelings of despair, hopelessness, and lack of motivation. As Gotye describes it, one can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness, and fighting this state of mind isn’t easy.Psychologists and therapists worldwide advise journaling to find a powerful way to express one’s feelings and emotions. Scribbling away the hopelessness will promote acute awareness of your mood swings, symptoms, and triggers. It will also help you design practical strategies tofight these overwhelming feelings and moods.

Final Thoughts

When one feels shackled by desolation and sadness, even the smallest steps toward reclaiming your happiness have profoundly significant impacts. Clinical depression is increasingly complex and multifaceted, and patients need more than just therapy and medications. Surrounding yourself with the loving care and affection of your friends and family will work wonders at regaining your agency and feeling healthier. 

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Pippa trailer out, shows a glimpse of 1971 Indo-Pak war




Pippa, starring Ishaan Khatter and Mrunal Thakur, is set to open in theaters.The makers released the new trailer on the occasion of the nation’s 75th independence day. The movie is set against the backdrop of the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

Raja Krishna Menon has helmed the movie, and other actors, including Soni Razdan and Priyanshu Painyuli, will also be seen on screen with Ishan Khatter and Mrunal Thakur.

In the one-minute trailer, Shaan is seen portraying Brigadier Balram Singh Mehta, a former member of the 45th Cavalry Tank Squadron who fought for Bangladesh.

In a film full of strong emotions and brutal battle sequences, Ishaan plays a young military hero who commands soldiers to liberate then-Eastern Pakistan.The first scene of the warm drama strikes the perfect note with phrases like “Joy Bangla,” the well-known battle cry of the liberation war. Soni and Mrunal, who will be seen as Ishaan’s mother and sibling, respectively, were also given a brief appearance.

Ishaan posted the trailer on Instagram and said,  “PIPPA in cinemas December 2nd, 2022.On the momentous occasion of our country’s Independence Day – presenting a glimpse from a film we’ve collectively put our heart, gut and soul into. May our soil, our people and our culture be blessed always. It’s been an honour to represent the valour and bravery of our defence forces. More to come.”

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