Festival slate includes samplings from India
East meets West at the Toronto Film Festival, which Thursday unveiled a slate of films from India including Karan Johar’s “Kabhi alvida naa kehna” (Never Say Goodbye) as a Gala Presentation.Set in New York, the third feature from Johar (“Sometimes Happiness, Sometimes Sorrow,” “Something Is Happening,”) is a Bollywood pic in which a soccer star (Shah Rukh Khan) and teacher (Rani Mukherji) fall in love despite being married to other people. Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan and Preity Zinta also star. The film will be released in August in India, the U.K. and in Indian communities and cinemas in North America. Four titles from the Indian subcontinent will world preem at the fest. Kabir Khan’s multilingual “Kabul Express,” starring John Abraham, (“Water”), is making its fest debut as a Special Presentation. Set in post-9/11 Afghanistan and lensed amid Taliban death threats, pic follows five characters over a fateful 48 hours. Bollywood writer-thesp Chitra Palekar (“Dhyasparva”) makes her directorial debut with “A Grave-Keeper’s Tale,” based on the outcast story “Baayen” (Witch), by Mahasweta Devi, and starring Nandita Das (“Fire,” “Earth”). “Tale” joins the Discovery lineup, as does “Vanaja,” a coming-of-age story from tyro Rajnesh Domalpalli. Title character is a teenager studying Kuchipudi dance who comes to the attention of her mentor’s son. And joining the Real to Reel program is Haobam Paban Kumar’s “A Cry in the Dark,” an examination of the persecution of India’s Manipuri population. Fest runs Sept. 7-16.