Tora’s Husband Rima Das’ third feature to premiere at TIFF in a row

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Still from Tora’s Husband, Rima Das Films. Photo Twitter @rimadasfilm

The World Premiere of twice National award-winning filmmaker Rima Das’ fourth Assamese feature, Tora’s Husband, received a heartwarming response at the 47th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

Tora’s Husband is Rima Das’ third feature to premiere at TIFF in a row and first Indian film to be selected in the Platform section. Named after Jia Zhang-ke’s ground-breaking film Platform, this section aims to shine a brighter light on some of the most original films and distinct voices at TIFF. The festival is being held from September 8 to 18.

After its World Premiere at TIFF, Tora’s Husband will head to the 27th Busan International Film Festival where it will be having its Asia Premiere in the ‘Window to Asian Cinema’ section in October.

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The film, featuring Abhijit Das and Tarali Kalita Das in the lead roles, is a story of a loving father and a kind neighbor, who struggles to keep his small-town business afloat while his relationships deteriorate, amidst loss and lockdown. Like everywhere around the world, he is grappling with uncertainty and restlessness. With a worldview unlike those living around him, he strives to be a better version of himself and expects the same from those around him. He sometimes gets aggressive and sometimes reasons with love and patience. But his expectations are crushed time and again. Shot during the lockdown, the film depicts life in a small town during the pandemic.

The writer-director-producer made the film independently with a small crew. Talking about the audience response, Rima says, “Tora’s Husband was my most challenging film. It is also different from my other films, longer as well. Shooting during the pandemic took a toll on the cast and crew emotionally. Even at the edit table, I was struggling because the film reflected the same restless state of mind. Agnes Varda once said, ‘I’m fighting a struggle, which is to make cinema alive and not just make another film.’ That thought kept motivating me to keep going, take risks and to be true to myself. I am thankful that TIFF selected this film. It means a lot for all of us, who worked really hard to make this film happen.”

Rima added, “After two years, I am at a film festival in person. And it gives me immense joy to see such a large and diverse audience, distinguished artistes, journalists, buyers and sellers gather to celebrate cinema. It’s a grand event with the same community feeling as watching a sport or a concert. How much I missed the echo of laughter, the silent tears and the goose-bumps!”

Excited about the Asian Premiere at Busan, she said, “I am honored and excited to be back at Busan International Film Festival for the Asian Premiere. I would like to thank my wonderful team for sticking through uncertain times and making Tora’s Husband happen.”

Ravi Srinivasan, Senior Manager, TIFF Festival Programming; South and South- East Asia Canada says, “With careful attention paid to the unique pressure faced by small-business owners, Das’ purview extends beyond the middle-class, capturing the crisis with impressive scope and documentary-like attentiveness, pointing to the societal fragilities that preceded and will follow the effects of the pandemic itself. With remarkable authenticity, Das illuminates both the dignity and vulnerability of ordinary people in one of the defining films of our historical moment.”

Rima is known for making indigenous and realistic stories that explore complicated relationships, finding purpose, coming of age and life amidst nature. Her previous films, Village Rockstars and Bulbul Can Sing, also premiered at TIFF, and were screened at over 120 prestigious film festivals around the world, winning over 70 awards! Village Rockstars was also India’s Official Entry to the Academy Awards 2019. Rima has donned multiple hats of writer, director, producer, cinematographer and editor for her projects.

GQ India magazine named Rima Das as one of the Most Influential Young Indians of 2018. She is also one of the Brand Ambassadors of Toronto International Film Festival’s ‘Share Her Journey’ campaign that champions the cause of gender equality in cinema. She has been on the jury of the Berlin International Film Festival Generation 14plus, Mumbai International Film Festival, Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival and Zlin Film Festival for Children & Youth.

 

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