History has stood witness to the fact that when a band of passionate people with a common cause meet, the seeds of revolution are sown. In 1997, Mumbai’s artistic and entertainment landscape saw the beginning of one such metamorphosis. Headed by the noted director Hrishikesh Mukherjee, an initiative named Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) was born in the late 90s to disseminate diverse cinema, films of all genres, films from everywhere. Thus, the Mumbai Film Festival was born.
In its 18th Edition this year, the MAMI Mumbai Film Festival is all set to showcase the best in independent cinema with an opening ceremony at the recently restored historic Royal Opera House on the 20th. Scheduled from 20th to 27th October, the MFF will play 180 films from over 50 countries, at a host of partner cinemas.
If you are looking to broaden your horizon when it comes to movies, or simply wish to experience the amalgamation of different cultures, ideologies, & stories, here is a list of recommended films that you can watch:
1. A Death in the Gunj directed by Konkana Sen Sharma
She proved her mettle as an actress, and it’s time for the incredibly talented Konkana Sen Sharma to prove her skills as a storyteller. Set in 1979 in the sleepy Anglo-Indian town of McCluskieganj in Jharkhand, the film follows the protagonist, Shutu, as he tries to fit in and belong. Watch the film for the powerful yet resonating story, art direction, and Sharma’s vision as a director.
2. Pinky Beauty Parlour directed by Akshay Singh
We obsess over fair skin; we obsess over cinema. Director Akshay Singh brings both these obsessions together through his story of Pinky & Bulbul, two sisters based in Banaras who successfully run a beauty parlour until one day a dead body is found on the premises. A myriad of characters, a thrilling tale of whodunit, and a social message for the audience is what got this movie a spot at Cannes this year.
3. Lipstick Under My Burkha directed by Alankrita Shrivastava
If nothing else, then watch this film for its brilliant metaphorical title! The film is a perceptive take on the various identities, both suppressed and the one that the society sees, of women in India. Whether it is a burkha-clad teenager who wants to be a popstar or a 55-year-old widow who wishes to re-experience romance, the film cleverly captures every part of their need for freedom and the societal shackles that bind them.
4. An Insignificant Man by Khushboo Ranka & Vinay Shukla
When he took to the dais in 2011 with the earnest conviction of a man who wants to bring about a monumental change in an infamously corrupt country, Arvind Kejriwal inspired many, including the two directors… so much so that they followed the AAP leader for two years! The result? A 100- minute documentary that gives the audience a glimpse into the mind and matter of the righteous politician.
5. I, Daniel Blake directed by Ken Loach
Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year, the film follows Daniel, an old carpenter with serious health issues, and Katie, a single mother of two young children, as they try to keep their lives together in Britain with the help of Britain’s welfare system.
6. The Red Turtle directed and animated by Michael Dudok De Wit
You may be surprised by how much an animated film about a man who is stranded on an island and has his raft destroyed by a certain red turtle every time he attempts to sail away, can teach you about life. Catch this film, produced by Studio Ghibli, a Japanese animation studio, for the beautiful visuals and its many messages about acceptance, companionship, ambition, etc. in its wordless narrative. Yes, there is no dialogue.
7. The War Show by Andreas Dalsgaard & Obaidah Zytoon
We have been lucky as not to have witnessed a war that shakes our identity. However, for those who would like to understand what a tumultuous journey it is to find one’s homeland on the brink of a colossal civil war. Watch this documentary as it follows Zytoon and her friends as they go from leading a “normal” life to that of a Syrian watching their country lose its identity.
For registering as a delegate and for the complete film schedule, head to http://www.mumbaifilmfestival.com/