The first thing I see as I walk into a boardroom in the TIFF Bell Lightbox to interview Cameron Bailey is a framed black and white photo of Aamir Khan andKiran Rao, taken when they were in Toronto for the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival to premiere their film Dhobi Ghat. This brief glimpse into the past is an appropriate entre into my discussion with Bailey, the man responsible for bringing Indian film to the festival and the man who chose to spotlight Mumbai in TIFF 2012′s City to City Programme. Dhobi Ghat was also the first film at TIFF I ever reviewed, the first Indian film I ever saw in Toronto and marks the point in time when I had just begun to plan my move to Mumbai. This year, coming back to TIFF from India, feels like I’ve come full circle.
Bailey first started covering south Asian programming nearly a decade ago and visits India at least once a year, sometimes up to three different times. He speaks passionately about India’s film history, traditions, actors, directors and producers. When I asked Anupama Chopra, a well-respected film critic and author based in Mumbai, why she thinks Bailey is such a great champion of Indian film, she’s succinct: “he gets it.” She elaborates, “He gets that it has such a huge emotional connect with Indians everywhere, he gets how much power there is, he gets how important these stars are to a billion people around the world, he understands the strength and he appreciates the movies.”
It’s clear that Bailey truly does appreciate the movies, that it’s “not just about the numbers,” says Chopra. He also understands the enormous shift that’s happening in Indian cinema right now, which is why he chose Mumbai for this year’s City to City Programme.
Read on to learn more about City to City, what’s changing in the Indian film community and for a few hints at which Indian films may premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW ON THE HUFFINGTON POST.
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