News India Times – that’s all you need to know Entertainment News India Times September 22, 2023 26 W ith aWorld Premiere. it was the only Indian film in the Discovery section of the 48th Toronto International Film Festival. Writer- director Jayant Digambar Somalkar’s debut Marathi feature film Sthal (A Match) is pro- duced by Dhun and co-founded by Karan Grover, Shefali Bhushan, Jayant Digambar Somalkar and Riga Malhotra. It is the only Indian film to be selected in the Discovery Program, which showcases the first and second features of emerging filmmakers from around the world. Sthal ex- plores the tradition of arranged marriages in rural India. Elated about theWorld Premiere, Jayant says, “I am overwhelmed. I never expected this kind of a response from the audience at the film’sWorld Premiere at TIFF. People connected to the story, the characters and every nuance of the film. It seemed to have touched their hearts. We had a houseful premiere show and the second screening is also already houseful.” Shefali Bhushan, who wrote and directed Jugni and co-directed Guilty Minds says, “Men and women from many different nationalities and ages watched the film and responded wholeheartedly to it at the premiere. It’s a great feeling to have the film speak to such a diverse group and leave them thinking.” Karan Grover added, “Sthal is a reflection of what we are, or what we could be as a society. As a producer, I deeply felt the need to share a story with viewers for the positive change that I hope to bring with it. Even if it helps a few women gain self- belief and assure parents of a change, we would have seemed to be done our job well. Hope you love our effort.” The film shot in Jayant’s native village, Dongargaon, in the Chandrapur district of Maharashtra, features an en- semble cast of first-time actors from the village—Nandini Chikte as protagonist Savita along with Taranath Khirat- kar, Sangita Sonekar, Suyog Dhawas, Sandip Somalkar, Sandip Parkhi, Swati Ulmale, Gauri Badki and Mansi Pawar. Sthal narrates the story of a determined young girl, Savita, from a village in the Vidarbha region, who yearns for education and a brighter future. However, as her farmer parents anxiously struggle to find a suitable match for her, societal expectations place immense pressure on her to prioritize marriage over personal aspirations. Being dark-complexioned and short in height, Savita is seen as an added burden on her parents and marry- ing her off is deemed as difficult as finding a fair price for their crop. Facing countless rejections from potential suitors, she must navigate a world where the pursuit of marriage overshadows the very sustenance of life. Jayant has earlier written and directed an award-win- ning short, Iyatta: Class (2016) and also co-wrote and co- directed the Amazon Prime Original Series Guilty Minds (2022). Born in a village in the Vidarbha region of India, Jayant himself is an engineering graduate, but his creative bent of mind made him veer towards filmmaking. Sthal marks the director’s debut feature, showcasing his talent for storytelling and commitment to presenting social is- sues in an authentic and compassionate manner. Says Jayant, “As I hail from a humble rural background, I have been fascinated by grass-root level stories that are socially relevant and affect the lives of common people. Through this film, my goal as a director is to bring out the realities faced by young women like Savita, who are almost sacrificed in the urgency for getting themmarried off. Being the youngest of four siblings, I saw my sisters going through this as I grew up. The idea for this par- ticular film crystallized when I accompanied my cousin for one such ‘match’ meeting. Through this film, I hope to spark conversations around the tradition of arranged marriage, gender inequality, and the pressing need for change.” He adds, “To capture the authenticity and rawness, I chose to shoot on real locations with real people from the village as the cast, all non-actors. By doing so, I sought to create an immersive experience and allow viewers to connect with the characters at a more emotional level. I was lucky to fulfill the dream of shooting in my own vil- lage, in fact, in the very house where I was actually born. I could also include my extended family, some as cast and others in production roles. The pride they felt, seeing one of their own, bring a crew to the village and shoot a film, is, for me, indescribable.” Jayant Somalkar’s Debut Marathi Feature Sthal Shines At 48th TIFF By RajivVijayakar A scene from Sthal, which shone at the 48th Toronto International Film Festival, and has real villagers as the cast. Jayant Digambar Somalkar and Shefali Bhushan at the 48th TIFF. Photo:Mauli Singh Photo:Mauli Singh W amiqa Gabbi is set to break new ground in the world of Indian entertainment as she embarks on a thrilling journey as the country’s first female de- tective on OTT in her titular role in web series, Charlie Chopra and the Mystery of Solang Valley. This gripping murder mystery is an official adaptation of Ag- atha Christie’s The Sittaford Mystery. Wamiqa, known for her exceptional performance and versatility in her recently- released series, Jubilee, as well as Grahan, is elated. The series follows the story of Charlie Chopra, essayed by her, who is out to save an innocent ac- cused and find the real culprit in a town that is full of suspects. Wamiqa said, “Playing the role of India’s first female detective in a show is an incredible honor. Charlie Chopra is a character into whom I have poured my heart, and I can’t wait for the audience to join me on this thrilling journey. It’s not often that such parts are written, and to play a title-role is even more special. Vishal (Bhardwaj) sir is truly someone who writes every character with such detail. I have always been extremely fond of his female characters and Charlie is no different. It’s my most ambitious role till date and I can’t wait to see how everyone receives Charlie.” The series boasts an ensemble of Naseeruddin Shah, Ratna Pathak Shah, Gulshan Grover, Neena Gupta, Lara Dutta, Priyanshu Painyuli, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Imaadudin Shah, Vivaan Shah, Paoli Dam, and others. This marks the fourth collaboration betweenWamiqa and the maverick filmmaker, after the short film, Fursat, the anthology Modern Love Mumbai, wherein they teamed up for the epi- sode, Mumbai Dragon and the forth- coming Khufiya. Charlie Chopra and the Mystery of Solang Valley is set to premiere on Sony LIV on September 27. Apart from this, Wamiqa will also soon be seen in Khu- fiya with Tabu and Ali Fazal, the South film, Genie and Varun Dhawan’s next, VD18, produced by Atlee. By a StaffWriter Wamiqa Gabbi Excited With Her Character In Charlie Chopra And The Mystery Of Solang Valley Wamiqa Gabbi plays the title role in the web series, Charlie Chopra and the Mystery of Solang Valley. Photo:HardlyAnonymous PR important that the G-20 spoke as one.” Still, Biden received some domestic criticism. “It was a win for Russia and China. They’re celebrating today,” Nikki Haley, a former U.N. ambassador and Republican presidential candi- date, said on CNN. But Rajesh Rajagopalan, a professor of inter- national relations at Jawaharlal Nehru Univer- sity, said the forum weakened China’s claim of representing the Global South, especially in the announcement of a new economic corridor that rivals China’s Belt and Road Initiative and other development advances pushed through with U.S. help. However, a question remains, Subramanian said. If the United States saw an Indian part- nership against China as more important than “teaching Russia a lesson,” she said, “is there going to be a real shift on the war on the ground as well?” -Special to TheWashington Post G-20 Result Shows Clout Of Global South Cover Story - Continued From Page 18