Toronto Fest's Bollywood Connection to Continue With 'Mary Kom' Premiere
Bollywood A-lister Priyanka Chopra's upcoming film Mary Kom will premier at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film is inspired by the real life story of Mary Kom — played by Chopra — the first Indian female boxer to win an Olympic medal (a bronze at the 2012 London Olympics).
Directed by Omung Kumar, Mary Kom is produced by Viacom18 Motion Pictures in association with leading filmmaker Sanjay Bhansali.
"Glamorous Indian star Priyanka Chopra completely transforms herself to play Mary Kom, world champion in women's boxing," said a statement from TIFF. "From traditional village life in remote Manipur state (in India's north east) to high-stakes bouts in India and around the world, this is a remarkable story of triumph."
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The film was supported by Kom, a five-time World Champion boxer. Chopra, also seen in recent music videos with the likes of Pitbull in her other life as an international pop star, underwent intense physical training for the role.
"The fights will be very similar to reality. Physically, it is the most difficult thing I have ever done," Chopra told THR in an interview last year. "I have done action stunts (in the past), but for this I had to really train and get really punched in the face and stomach and everywhere, which is all very painful. I have never had muscles, so that had to be developed, which required intense, disciplined training."
In recent years, Toronto has expanded its selection of Indian cinema by featuring premieres of major Bollywood releases, while continuing to showcase art-house and independent fare. Past Bollywood titles that have premiered at TIFF include megastar Shah Rukh Khan's Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, Akshay Kumar's Singh is Kingg and Rani Mukherjee's Dil Bole Hadippa, among others.
With Canada home to a massive South Asian diaspora, the Bollywood premieres are well-attended by hordes of fans eager for a glimpse of their favorite Bollywood stars. The 2007 premiere of Guru starring former Miss World Aishwarya Rai and (her now husband) Abhishek Bachchan was a major event with over a thousand fans, and an equal number of ticket holders, attending the screening at Toronto's Elgin Theatre.