Having Indian actor/producer Akshay Kumar on board has already guaranteed the success of Canadian-Sikh hockey comedy, Breakaway.
The film, which opens across Canada on Sept. 30, will open a week earlier – Sept. 23 – on 650 movie screens in India and 99 in the United Kingdom, thanks to the fact that Kumar is a well-known Bollywood star and a particularly well-connected producer at the same time.
The film’s title has been changed there to The Speedy Singhs – the fictional hockey team in the film --- “because Breakaway wouldn’t make much sense there. It’s very much a hockey term,” Kumar said.
“When I got this opportunity, I jumped for it and it was a big opportunity for me to make an international film. It’s a good blend between Hollywood and Bollywood coming together and I’ve always wanted to do something like that. This is the first international film that is going to get such a huge release there back home. It’s never happened,” Kumar said.
Kumar, an ardent sports fan, is also a long-time friend of Canadian producer A.J. – who’s son Vinay Virmani wrote the screenplay and stars.
“I liked the whole subject. . .about Sikhs trying to play a white man’s game, ice hockey,” he said.
In India, he noted, field hockey is the national game, with teams often picking up gold medals at the Summer Olympics.
“Our national sport is hockey. The only difference is that this is ice hockey and we play on grass,” he said.
Kumar, who has already shot of number of films in Canada, said there are big differences between making a film here and in his native India.
“The biggest thing is here everything is organized and there, it is not that well organized. It takes time,” Kumar said, with a laugh.
“I always literally say if you want an international driver’s licence, you should learn how to drive in India. I can drive anywhere in the world, I’ve never had any problem. So it’s just like that. If you can produce a film there and you can organize yourself there, you can organize yourself anywhere,” he added.
Kumar, who came to Canada for the first time in 1994 and owns a home in the Greater Toronto Area, said he has fallen in love with Canada.
“Practically, after every two or three months, I’m here. I just come here for four or five days and spend some time and then I go back. The people here are very, very friendly. Plus, it’s such a huge country, it’s seven times huger than India and there’s so much space,” he added.
Hello Canada Fifth Anniversary party — the magazine hosts this celebratory party at the Ritz Carlton, with plenty of Canadian celebs expected.
Killer Elite Cocktail Reception — Held on the roof deck of Maison Mercer, the film’s cast includes Jason Statham, Robert De Niro, Clive Owen and Yvone Strahovski.
Fox Searchlight/Vanity Fair — Partnered with Belvedere Vodka, this party will be at Scarpetta at the Thompson Hotel and will celebrate two films: Martha Marcy May Marlene, whose cast includes Elizabeth Olsen, Sarah Paulson, John Hawkes, Hugh Dancy and Brad Corbet; and The Descendents, who cast includes George Clooney, Judy Greer, Shailene Woodley, Matthew Lilard, Beau Bridges, Rob Huebel; directed by Alexander Payne.
The Creative Coalition's Spotlight Awards — taking place at the Roosevelt Room, these event celebrates honourees including Ashley Greene, Anna Kendrick, Michelle Monaghan, Juliette Lewis, Roland Emmerich, Morgan Spurlock, Kate Linder, Rhys Ifans and Gerard Butler.
Melancholia — A post premiere cocktail party celebrating the new Lars Von Trier films starring Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland and Alexander Skarsgård hosted by Hugo Boss and GQ at the Bloor St. store.
Goon Premiere Party — The hockey themed film from Mike Dowse take place at Andrew Richards Design and will include NHL players and the cast, which includes, Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel, Alison Pill and Kim Coates.
Afghan Luke premiere Party — Mike Clattenburg’s film takes over the Fifth Social Club, including stars Stephen Lobo and Ali Liebert.
Toro After Dark — The online magazine hosts a party at Ame.
Late to get to lineup for Omar Killed Me at Jackman Hall at the AGO. I've never seen at TIFF film there. The film is based on a true crime which occurred in south of France and it's directed by Roschdy Zem -- a French actor turned director. When I arrive, I'm shocked that there's no line. But then I realize they have already let people in. It's a small venue. So being late has meant my seat choice is limited. Better luck tonight. I'll make sure I'm early. -- Debra Black
Even though the action has shifted south to Bell Lightbox and hotels like the Ritz Carlton, TIFF was overflowing on the streets of Yorkville on Friday night. A trio of hot babes in skimpy cocktail dresses performed Coldplay songs in the passageway between Cumberland and Yorkville, attracting hordes while hundreds thronged the red carpet for the George Stroumboulopoulos party at Hazelton Hotel.
No, that wasn't Coldplay frontman Chris Martin at the party, but ringer Kris Holden Reid (Lost Girl). But that was Mad Man Jon Hamm, who is even more Hamm-some in person.
There were lots of cute young dudes in T-shirts and Canadian talent like TIFF Rising Star Katie Boland, Sebastian Pigott, Jian Ghomeshi and director Deepa Meehta. TIFF party hearty Geoffrey Rush, who is working on a script with Bob Martin (star of the new CBC series Michael Tuesdays and Thursdays) for a film version of The Drowsy Chaperone, held court on the patio, where a handful of enterprising party crashers snuck through the security hedges and some party guests smuggled plates of food to their buddies lined up outside.
Stroumboulopoulos was a late arrival, fresh from TORO After Dark party at AME in support of Artists for Peace, which included boldface like Gerard Butler, Paul Haggis amd Jason Reitman.
But no Brad Pitt, who was at a private dinner at the Ritz Carlton with George Clooney.
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