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Outlook.com

All Aboard On T’ronto Express

Frames of India from the The ­Toronto ­International Film Festival

All Aboard On T’ronto Express
Red Roar | Photograph by Getty Images
All Aboard On T’ronto Express
outlookindia.com
2016-09-23T19:06:37+05:30

It’s always flitted uneasily across a maze of blurred lines, how actors furnish responses to the age-old question relating to their craft. To what extent do they become the character they play? It’s ‘professional distance’ for some and ‘ent­e­ring the skin’ for others. For actors answering to a specific ethnic description, irrevocably marked out by that in a film industry whose default colour is white, the reference to skin leads to another troubling element, a permanent canker, in fact, on the body. Is there, looming over each individual person they portray, an ‘Indian’ or ‘Hispanic/Black/Asian’ type that they must fill out (or cancel out) first? Can they act at all without coming to terms with this element at the outset?

There’s a touch of novelty to the way British-Indian actor Dev Patel came to that old, and often cliched, moment that seems to take hold of expatriates: the archetypal search for roots. Dev, looking manlier than the image we have of him from Slumdog Millionaire, with long,...

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