At the 2019 iteration of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), amongst the commercials before the films was one for the in-house endeavour, Share Her Journey, an attempt to foster gender equity within the industry, particularly within the ranks of creators. The accompanying grid featured 20 women ambassadors of the effort, and five were either from India or of Indian origin: Priyanka Chopra, Rima Das, Toronto’s own Deepa Mehta, Mira Nair and documentarian Jennifer Baichwal.
That outsized female presence, though, wasn’t limited to a single still. Over the past five years, projects from women directors or co-directors have accounted for over half of the films selected from India for TIFF. In 2019, four films from India arrived at the festival, and three were helmed by women: Geetu Mohandas’s Moothon (The Elder One), Shonali Bose’s The Sky Is Pink and Gitanjali Rao’s Bombay Rose.
Mohandas’s second feature was amongst the path-breaking projects at TIFF 2019. The filmmaker was enthused by the support she received. “It’s an amazing launch pad and since it is an A-list (festival), the film is noticed. The distribution and networking become a lot easier. There’s also traction back home in terms of media attention. Especially when you’re making an independent film, it’s very important to create a buzz at a festival. TIFF gave me the most amazing platform for that,” she said during the course of an interview.
Rima Das (left) and Geetu Mohandas.
The Elder One is a same-sex romance set in an idyllic village in...