TORONTO: Two and a half years after the global disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the subject has become the revealing backdrop for two Indian films premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), exploring the social and mental toll that he took.
National award-winning director Rima Das’ film Tora’s Husband, which examines the layers of unrest in a small town in Assam, had its world premiere at TIFF on September 11. in Bhubaneshwar, who loses his job as a factory manager to become an app-based delivery driver, will have his first screening.
Rima Das’ film is also the first Indian film to be selected for TIFF’s prestigious competition section, Platform. In fact, she was planning a different movie before the pandemic hit, but after being locked down for three months in Mumbai, she returned to her home in Assam, and this movie evolved from her experience there.
“It represents that era and it’s important,” she said. She has gone through several aspects of the impact of Covid, as the protagonist faces a relationship problem with his wife and mother, has to deal with a restaurant and bakery business struggling with restrictions and growing debt.
Rima Das said she was “exploring the inner emotional journey” in her latest project. TIFF programmer Ravi Srinivasan, in his description of the film, commented, “With careful attention to the unique pressure faced by small business owners, Das’ skill extends beyond the classroom. average, capturing the crisis with impressive scope and documentary-like attention, highlighting the societal fragilities that preceded – and will follow – the effects of the pandemic itself.
Covid-19 restrictions also imposed on her casting choices, such as involving members of her family and neighborhood as main characters. Her brother, Abhijit Das, plays the protagonist Jaan, with quiet intensity.
Meanwhile, Nandita Das’ film features comedian Kapil Sharma in a dramatic role. A statement from the filmmakers said it “captures what an ‘ordinary’ family faces in the post-pandemic world. It’s a story of life’s uphill battle, but not without moments of shared joy. It’s like life – bittersweet.
Rima Das not only directed, but also shot, edited and produced Tora’s Husband. And the stress of living during a pandemic was heightened when her father passed away due to an unrelated cause. “It was not an easy journey,” she said, after finishing her most difficult film to date.