Toronto "The Man Beyond the Bridge" (Paltadacho Munis), the Konkan film that created a buzz at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) here, has been given the Discovery award by film critics.Oprah Winfrey-backed 'Precious' won the audience choice award at the Festival.
The 96-minute film, which Goan filmmaker Laxmikant Shetgaonkar made with assistance from the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), was lauded by audiences for dealing with major dilemmas - faith, the environment and social taboos.
On the closing day of the 10-day film festival, the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) voted for it in the Discovery category.
In a statement, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) said, "The Prize of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI Prize) for Discovery is awarded to Laxmikant Shetgaonkar for 'The Man Beyond the Bridge.' "
Lauding the Konkani film, the statement said: "Far from the sensory overload of India's big cities, this film explores smaller but enduring dilemmas, drawing together keen environmental sensitivity with a nuanced view of village dynamics.
"A widowed forest ranger Vinayak develops an intimate relationship with a mentally ill woman, risking becoming an outcast. Director Shetgaonkar, immersed in the culture of the region, tells his tale with grace and attentiveness, taking the villages traditions and beliefs seriously, while casting a jaundiced eye on those who exploit them."
The jury consisted of Diego Lerer (Argentina), Jan Schulz-Ojala (Germany), Hynek Pallas (Sweden), Kirill Razlogov (Russia), Denis Seguin (Canada) and Jorge Gutman (Canada).
The film critics' body has been giving this award for the past 18 years.
'The Man Beyond the Bridge' was one of the half a dozen Indian films that featured at the 34th annual festival. It was slated in the Discovery category. Set in the Western Ghats, the film is slated for release later this year.