Boring limousines at celebrity events are out. At least for now. Lisa Ray and the rest of the cast of Dilip Mehta's Cooking With Stella rode up in a hand-driven rickshaws for the Gala premiere at the Toronto Film Festival on Thursday night. Heads turned and jaws fall open at the august gathering. But Lisa couldn't care less. That was a bit of Indiana thrown into the Oriental cuisine.
Delighted euphoric but exhausted after the event Lisa said, "Yes, we rolled up in rickshaws and the crowd was hugely supportive. I wore my 'Myeloma' bracelet, which matched my gown. My gown was designed by Nada, a Toronto designer, and India-inspired."
Lisa rode up in the two-seater rickshaw with her co-star Don McKellar while the rest of the cast along with the director, his sister Deepa Mehta and producer David Hamilton were in other rickshaws. The entourage was arresting. The ambience created was very rustic and Indian. Interestingly, since a lot of the film is about cooking and food, a majority of the audience in the 2000-member auditorium came out of the film famished!
The press at the Toronto Film Festival was naturally full of questions about Lisa's health condition. She answered all of them patiently. This was Lisa's first major public appearance after she announced her illness.
And she had herself a grand time. "I had the most fun I've ever had at a red carpet event. Probably because it was the first time I was totally unselfconscious. It an interesting lesson. I could just let it all hang out and genuinely enjoy myself. Also, I am grateful for all the support and love from people around the world, especially from India. Truly, India's heart beats stronger and louder than ever before."
Fatigued but excited, Lisa says, "The gala went off spectacularly well. Dilip brought down the house with his opening on stage. Our film was received with incredible warmth and positivity."
Lisa is big fan of her Stella co-star Seema Biswas. "Seema continues to be my ultimate inspiration as an actress. All the performances in the film are spot- on, making Cooking With Stella a crowd -pleaser. Dilip Mehta is an amazing director. He's made something very special in Cooking With Stella and his vision will continue to thrill in the future. It's been a privilege to work with him and with the entire cast."
Besides Seema and Lisa, Shriya Saran who stars on Cooking With Stella also attracted a lot of media eyeballs at the Toronto premiere.