Mumbai Memoir 41-Eat, Sleep & Drink films at Mumbai Film Festival!
Out of the multiple tags that Mumbai city possesses, one of it being ‘city of dreams’! Many Mumbai’kars who aspire to make it big someday, nurture dreams that would help them ‘break free’ from the shackles of life’s struggles. Besides this, Mumbai’s film industry is nothing less than a factory that produces dreams on screens. Cinema is an integral part of the city’s cultural fabric and masses here ‘eat, sleep and drink’ cinema! Mumbai is also active on the film festival circuit where both film buffs and filmmakers vibe with each other and thereby appreciate the art and craft of cinema. Being a film buff myself, the process, product and audience feedback of Cinema always fascinates me. As a high school girl I remember spending my pocket money on watching one film per day by hiring a video cassette from a nearby film library! Later since my junior college days I have been attending film festivals that are held in Mumbai and across India. All the film viewing so far, has helped me in my journey as a documentary film writer and also has broadened my vision of appreciating other artists who add value to the process of filmmaking.
Recently I attended MAMI Film Festival which was held from 29th October to 5th November’2015. MAMI stands for Mumbai Academy of Moving Image and this year was its 17th edition. It is also referred as Mumbai Film Festival and is known for featuring quality World Cinema. It was my 3rd consecutive year of attendance and having witnessed it for past three years I must say that the festival has evolved, both on the kind of cinema that gets showcased in the fest and also with its sponsorship. Corporate companies JIO and Star India funded the festival this year.
Due to my busy schedule on other work fronts, I only managed to catch up with few films at the festival. The very first I saw was ‘He Named Me Malala’. It’s a documentary film on Malala Yousoufzai, the youngest recipient of the Noble Peace Prize. Her brave fight against the Taliban in the backdrop of her father’s support is beautifully featured by the German director Davis Guggenheim. Here’s the film’s trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cug1-eTOVSk
‘Manto’, a Pakistani film, touched my heart. The film is a biopic on one of the best Urdu writers of the Indian sub-continent, Saadat Hassan Manto. I found the director, Sarmad Khoosat’s treatment of the film unique and at times ‘surreal’. The superior star cast of the film and the portrayal of Manto’s bright and dark side of life has been well crafted by good cinematography and edits. Here’s its trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tnfx42fxCZU As a writer myself, I could connect with the gist of Manto’s thought presented in the film and felt the pain of a writer who is ironically struggling to justify his art to the society, which is the basic inspirational source of his writing!
‘Nachom- ia- Kumpasar’, is yet another film that touched my heart. It’s a Konkani film. Konkani is state language of Goa. The film is a sincere effort of the filmmakers to bring justice to the musicians of Goa who were never given their due credits in Bollywood film industry during the 1960s and 1970s. The film revives the songs of popular Goan singer Lorna and has beautifully picked up songs from her collection and woven a script to feature the songs and at the same time showcase the rise and fall of Lorna and her band in real life! Here’s the film’s trailer:
I love the Konkani language and its various accents which reminds me of the ‘ever casual’ Goa. I highly recommend all to hear the bold and confident voice of Lorna. My favourite Konkani song from her collection is Lisboa (which means Lisbon, capital of Portugal). Here’s its link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dRNdEul4PI
Yet another attraction I feel about the MAMI festival is one of their category titled ‘Dimensions Mumbai’. Short films created by young filmmakers (age below 25) made on a Mumbai based theme are featured in this section. This year 23 films were shortlisted from a pool of approx. 160. My favourite picks from the 23 were Wise Crab, Shukravar (Friday), ‘Few minutes to infinity’ and Toot-ta Judta Admi (Broken Struggling Man). The passion behind all filmmakers is evident as they aim to release the flavour of Mumbai through their films in less than 5 minutes!
All in all this year’s MAMI film festival was a nice experience and though I could not catch up with each and every film (I wish I could). But I am content with my experience at the festival this year. Here’s a link to almost all the trailers of the film that were featured at this year’s MAMI festival: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrQY-GVS5vE&list=PLl71dYFwKvcrr1eq27DjAPLOUQM-lP0UH&index=19https://www.youtube.com/user/MumbaiFilmFestival
Lastly I would want to share my sentiments about the national anthem that was screened before every film session at the festival. Here in Mumbai, before every film screening the National Anthem is played. MAMI festival strictly follows the protocol even between films, which I found impressive. This year the national anthem was dedicated to all the people who were involved in the rescue operation during the 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai. Here is a sneak preview of the specially made national anthem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkuNWhiGyfo
Three years back when I first experienced MAMI film festival I was touched with the way film buffs and film makers stood for the national anthem before every film to pay due respect to the nation. I am sure, like me, many prospective filmmakers desire to screen their film at MAMI, not just to showcase their art, but also to feel honoured to have the country’s national anthem played before their film starts!
Photo credits: Shraddha Sankulkar, Free promotional material
Photos and Captions:
Poster at 17th Mumbai Film Festival
Cine’ma’ nurturing Mumbai’s culture!
Panel discussion on ‘Producing films on Crowd funding initiatives’ at MAMI’2015
Proud to be a part of MAMI film festival
‘Education will change the world positively’- Me & Malala!
Konkani film poster- ‘Nachom-ia-Kumpasar’