India, Sept. 18 -- While Indian films made their presence felt at the 2021 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), there was a marked absence of talent from the country as a result of ban on direct flights from India to Canada that kept most filmmakers away.

Of the three directors who had their debut projects premiere at TIFF, only Mumbai-based Ritwik Pareek, director of the fiction feature Dug Dug was able to make it to Toronto. Even in his case, the hassles associated with getting a RT-PCR test in a third country before connecting to a flight to Toronto meant he missed the in-person world premiere of his own film.

Payal Kapadia, director of the documentary A Night of Knowing Nothing, also skipped the festival. And f...