Diwali festival just got over but for movie-lovers in Mumbai, there was a bigger festival for which they wait for whole year and when it comes, they get a sleep of fewer than 4 hours on daily basis for the whole one week, stand in long ques ( longer than at Siddhivinayak temple), make rounds from one auditorium to other and from one theater to other, just to catch a movie of their choice. Yes, cinema is no religion but it is not lesser than any religion. 19th MAMI Mumbai Film Festival just got over and I am already suffering from withdrawal symptoms. It is like, after giving high dosages of cocktail drugs of heightened imagination, creative excellence and rebellion thoughts for one week, day and night regularly, you are left on the mercy on the real normal world. Ah, how unbearable this is!
Mumbai Academy of Moving Image ( MAMI) was founded in the year 1997 by a group of film industry stalwarts headed by late Hrishikesh Mukherjee.The aim was to organize an annual international film festival of which the country can be proud of and to give movie -lovers a taste of cinema of all over the world and make them think beyond Bollywood and Hollywood. MAMI is doing its job relentlessly for last many years, this was the 19th edition of the festival. It is important to mention here that before 3 years, MAMI faced the biggest crisis because their main sponsor backed out but than MAMI fans came together to revive the film festival and now thanks to Teen Deviaan ( Kiran Rao, Anupama Chopra and Smriti Kiran ) and their wonderful team who are working day and night to take the festival to a new heights. Last year, they started an exciting new initiative called MAMI Year Round Programme where MAMI film club members could come for selected special screenings. Wonderful!
I can say that this year MAMI was the most organized event compared to last years. I saw almost 30 movies in 7 days, missed some of the movies I was dying to see but this is the life of a normal person until or unless I start creating my clones.
The festival opened with Anurag Kashyap’s Mukkabaaz which I find the most relevant movie of our times, movie raises issues of cow-vigilantism, sport-politics, and caste -discrimination in India. The movie has a scene where we see the shocking footage of cow-vigilantes ( as you see plenty of these days on social media) killing some people with slogans like ” Bharat Mata ki Jay”, ” Gaay Mata ki jay”. Hats off to Anurag Kashyap for raising such issues in the face in his movies, in these difficult time when most of the movie-makers are trying to be included in the good books of people in power. Besides, Mukkabaaz was thoroughly entertaining, it is Anurag Kashyap’s Ramayan. Vineet Singh is superb in the movie, he put lots of hard work and it shows.! Jimmy Shergill is the meanest villain on screen, with a feudal mindset, Saakshaat Raavan! Overall, full of fun!
My biggest regret that I missed Village Rockstars by Rima Das. Read rave reviews about the movie but missed it because of the clash of timing. Village Rockstars won many awards at the MAMI festival and. It bagged the Golden Gateway award. The film also took home two other honors: Oxfam Best Film for Gender Quality award and Young Critics Choice award.
But, other movies shown in the MAMI were as great! For example, Devashish Makhija‘s Ajji/ Granny was something which refuses to leave you even after days of watching it.The movie is so hard-hitting that it breaks all the walls of thick muddy walls of glasses of your comfort zone and put the truth on our face, as it is. After watching Ajji, I was ashamed that I am part of such degraded society, I am a citizen of a country where such rapists become the tool to change the political course of a country in manufactured riots and some of them become our leaders.And, as the director himself told that he started hating being a man ( You can read his full interview on this link “The Cancers of Devashish Makhija’s “AJJI” . On the other hand, the movie very easily fits in a genre of few original superhero movies. ! I would love to see sequels and comics based on this fabulous character created by brilliant Devashish Makhija. Women were shocked and disturbed after watching this movie. My wife still could not get over with it.
My other favorite Indian movie at MAMI was Sexy Duga by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan. The beauty of the movie is that it takes the frequent rape incidents in India away from a newspaper corner and put the audience through a horrifying journey and mentally torture them, trap them and make them feel how horror looks like. It also shatters the Indian hypocrisy where we worship the goddess as a society but molest them at the first chance we get. Brilliant!
I absolutely loved The Forsaken ( Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani? ), one of the best movie I saw in #MAMI but no hype at all. I enjoyed the Q&A session a lot. Jiju Antony ‘s movie starts with a horrific rape incident and then goes down deeper to explore the Indian society where rape has become such a normal word. Such a brilliant job.
Also got a chance to see Shlok Sharma’s #ZOO, a truly independent movie, shot on an iPhone and riding on pure passion, movie deals with some very interesting characters of the maximum city who are living in suffocating boxes of guilt, sentiments, inferiority complex and greed. A very confident initiative by Shlok and writer Shilpa Srivastava, and very honest one!
One of the biggest highlights of this year’s MAMI was the screening of “Janne Bhi Do Yaaro” and meeting with the cast and crew. After the screening, we got a chance to listen and meet Sudhir Mishra, Vinod Chopra, Satish Kaushik and Ranjit Kapoor. The memories they shared of the making of #JBDY were so precious that you want to save those moments forever. Very enlightening and one of the best session I have ever participated in MAMI.
The screening of Darren Aronofsky’s Mother was a complete riot. People reached early in the morning to see the movie.The whole house was divided on #Mother after watching it. Some loved it, some hated it. I was, in kind of indecisive stage to decide if I liked it or not, still, I am! So, I am giving a little more time to digest it in the system and then I will reach to the decision. I can say that I loved the treatment but quite disappointed by straightforwardness of ending ( Don’t know exactly.)!
Many hearts were broken ( mine too) when we heard the news that Monica Belluci who were expected to participate in a masterclass with Anurag Kashyap, not coming to MAMI because of some unavoidable circumstances. But not all was lost. If she was not there for real, we saw her in reel. I saw On the Milky Road the same day, I found it very poetic and visually very rich movie. Enjoyed it!
Redoubtable based on the life of Maestro Jean-Luc Godard gives an insight how a genius thinks and why are they different from others. I absolutely loved the movie and would like to see it again.
Scary Mother was again about a creative person ( a middleaged woman writer this time), the movie again deals with the human’s mind and how suppression can lead to a stage where it becomes difficult to differentiate between creativity and madness. I absolutely loved it.
Last Flag Flying is a very special movie which has a superb cast. Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne, watching them was a treat, especially Bryan Cranston was just awesome. It is difficult to say which genre movie belongs but it’s a lovely experience
Watching November was an entirely different experience, a visual treat, a classic masterpiece, a work of art. Overall, very satisfying. I loved Beauty and the Dogs, again about a rape incident and how system betrays a rape victim.
I also saw Holy Camp, April’s Daughter, Invisible and Montparnasse Bienvenüe. Holy Camp was especially beautiful as it stresses on that God doesn’t exist in Bible, Quran or Ramayan but in music, fun and love. I loved the musical comedy.
I also saw Sicilian Ghost Story which I found good.
I also saw Sicilian Ghost Story which I found good.
Participating in MAMI is always with unexpected pleasant surprises! One of the mornings started with a meeting with Kamal Swaroop ji,Iand Kanika discussed with him a few things about art and cartoons, found him very sweet, humble and generous. Later we saw his enlightening documentary #PushkarPuran and attended a long and very informative Q and A with the legend.
And then, came a pleasant surprise and Diwali gift from Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star , screening of Amar Akbar Anthony with an introduction by Shabana Azmi ji. Anhoni ko honi kar de, honi ko anhoni..! Sang this and other Bachchan songs in pretty louder voice at the screening.
I can go on and on……