Deepa Mehta, Mira Nair bring Indian voices to Toronto film fest

Deepa Mehta and Mira Nair first met in a swimming pool in Amritsar, India, when they were children, not knowing at the time that they would become two of India’s most influential filmmakers. Now the two women, who are eight years apart, will be coming to the Toronto International Film Festival in September to screen their films.

The festival announced this morning that it will host the world premiere of Mehta’s “Midnight’s Children,” while Nair’s “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” will make its North American debut at the event.

“Midnight’s Children” centers on the journey of two newborns switched at birth at a Bombay hospital on the dawn of India’s independence from Britain. “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” is an international political thriller that follows a young Pakistani man chasing corporate success on Wall Street who finds himself embroiled in a conflict of his American dream, a hostage crisis and the call of his homeland.

The films are very different, yet they share a lot in common. Both are based on literary works: “Midnight’s Children” was originally a novel by Salman Rushdie (who also wrote the screenplay), while “Fundamentalist” is based on the bestselling novel by Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid.

The two women shot the films about the same time, and both were forced to use India as a double for Pakistan after the country denied them visas to shoot there.


“Midnight’s Children” is scheduled to be released in the U.S. in October, while “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” which will first open at the Venice Film Festival on Aug. 29 and stars Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland and Liev Schreiber, does not yet have a U.S. release date.


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