DALILAND Executive Producer Chandu Shah at Toronto International Film Festival

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Eshani and Chandu Shah
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TORONTO, Canada—What is common between Salvador Dali and Sir Ben Kingsley? The answer is Bostonian Chandu Shah, one of the Executive Producers of DALILAND, the closing film of Toronto International Film Festival recently.

DALILAND is a film based on the life and times of great artist Salvador Dali, where Sir Ben Kingsley is playing Dali himself.

“The thrill is to see your name appearing alongside Sir Ben Kingsley as Executive Producer with a positive review of the film in Variety, Hollywood’s premier movie magazine and many other great reviews,” says Shah, who attended the closing night film premier with his wife Eshani Shah and other producers as well as the director and star cast of the film. “Walking the red carpet, lining up for interviews, clicked by paparazzi, before and after show parties, were the memories of lifetime.”

The world celebrates the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) every year, and this year it was held from September 9 to 18. One of the most renowned film festivals, as well as a leading art exposition, it’s attended and followed by fans, critics, and artists alike.

Ben Kingsley as Salvador Dali

Since its founding, the International Toronto Film Festival has become a symbol of excellence in film and the visual arts and continues to share these values in every annual edition. Going strong on its 47th edition, the Toronto Film Festival is now celebrated worldwide as a major cultural event. It gained as much significance as other renowned festivals, namely the Cannes Film Festival.

While the film DALILAND was shot in United Kingdom during the pandemic among the utmost care for the cast and crew in April 2021, Kingsley caught covid days before the premier and could not attend the show. A message from the actor was played before the show of close to a 1,000 in attendance.

Celebrities spotted at the festival were: Brendan Fraser who won an Award for ‘The Whale’, who is a favorite to win best actor Oscar next year. Paul Dano, Steven Spielberg and Michelle Williams at ‘The Fablemans’ Premiere. Maitreyi Ramakrishnan at ‘The Fabelmans’ Premiere. Daniel Craig at the ‘Glass Onion’ Premiere. Taylor Swift an Sadie Sink. Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry at the ‘Sidney’ Premiere

Jennifer Lawrence at the ‘Causeway’ Premiere. Lily James at the Shekhar Kapoor directed ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It’ Premiere. While Shabana Azami was in attendance, actress Nandita Das showcased the trailer of her upcoming film with Kapil Sharma.

The acclaimed Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical film, The Fabelmans, took home the Toronto International Film Festival’s top prize over the weekend winning the People’s Choice award.

DALILAND

Set in New York and Spain in 1973, the film tells the story of the later years of the strange and fascinating marriage between Salvador Dalí and his tyrannical wife, Gala, as their seemingly unshakable bond begins to stress and fracture.

The biopic captures the madness, the comedy and the tragedy of the surrealist legend Salvador Dali who turned his very identity into a work of art.

Kingsley has played nearly every role imaginable in every manner of film imaginable, from playing Trevor Slattery in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to portraying Mahatma Gandhi in an Oscar-nominated turn for 1982’s Gandhi. With Mary Harron’s Dalíland, however, the larger-than-life actor has found a larger-than-life role. With him starring as the legendary painter Salvador Dalí alongside the embattled Ezra Miller as the younger Dali, the film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival a few days ago.

The film Dalíland paints a picture of the Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali’s eccentric life and marriage. The film takes us on a journey through Dalí’s parties, artistic process and personal life.

Set during the later period of his life in the mid-70s, “Dalíland” finds Salvador Dalí (Kingsley) and his wife of 40 years, Gala (Barbara Sukowa) living in New York City’s St. Regis Hotel.

Dalí’s work has otherwise been sporadic, so fresh-faced gallery assistant James (Christopher Briney) is assigned to stay close to him and ensure he gets a show up in three weeks time. On the professional front, Gala served as Dalí’s business manager, and was reportedly alternately responsible for his successes and for bringing him to the brink of ruin.

An excerpt of the review by Hollywood Reporter:

A portrait of art-world celebrity indulgence as seen by a youngster who still has some illusions to shatter, Mary Harron’s Dalíland revolves around the titular Surrealist, played with restraint and dignity by Ben Kingsley, while gently nudging the spotlight in the direction of his complicated wife/muse Gala, a role in which Barbara Sukowa more than earns the movie’s attention.

While the film has been sold to more than 50 countries, the film will open to public in 2023.

The film will contest for Oscars in year 2024.

Production: A Pressman Film, David O. Sacks Productions, Zephyr Films, Popcorn Group, Serein Productions.

Producers: Edward Pressman, David O. Sacks, Daniel Brunt, Chris Curling, Sam Pressman. Executive producers: Paula Paizes, Hannah Leader, Sir Ben Kingsley, Max Burger, Monique Burger, Chandu Shah, Cindy Saggar, Philip Colbert, Charlotte Colbert, Michael R. Newman, Jon Katz, Munkhtulga Od, Marc Iserlis.

Crew:

Director: Mary Harron.

Screenplay: John C. Walsh.

Camera: Marcel Zyskind.

Editor: Alex Mackie.

Music: Edmund Butt.

With: Ben Kingsley, Barbara Sukowa, Christopher Briney, Rupert Graves, Alexander Beyer, Andreja Pejic, Mark McKenna, Zachary Nachbar-Seckel, Avital Lvova, Suki Waterhouse.

Running time: 104 min.

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