The Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival brings together a heady mix of homegrown and global cinematic work to the city of Mumbai, where cinema breathes best.
It’s only fair that India’s most dedicated region of cinema gets it own film festival. After all, the city of Mumbai has grown to be synonymous with the country’s cinema industry, despite the overwhelming work that comes in from several other film industries nestled in India. Which is perhaps why, the Mumbai Film Festival helps by not just furthering the city’s cinematic culture, but also by bringing together a wide range of work thereby helping expand the medium.
After a brief struggle with sponsorship, the Mumbai Film Festival is rearing to go with added support from the Indian film industry professionals. And if the 2015 movie list is anything to go by, then the festival delivers distinctiveness through and through. The Sherp picks the 10 most unmissable films of the year, and tells you why you must attend the festival from October 29 to November 5 to catch them!
Directed by : Prashant Nair
Our country has forever dealt with the incessant need of fetishising the ideal that is America, everything about the country seems to titillate us. Capturing this mythical obsession is Prashant Nair’s Umrika, which already has the reputation of having bagged the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Featuring Suraj Sharma of Life of Pie fame, the cinematic journey of a young man’s search for his missing brother has already garnered rave reviews. With its theatrical release sometime later this year, you would want to catch an early view at MAMI!
Directed by : Yosef Baraki
Yosef Baraki’s Mina Walking has extensively traveled the world, having been screened at several film festivals this year. Kabul’s street seller have been famously depicted in several works of literature. In this visual journey, Baraki’s Mina is a street seller who tries to balance her trade along with her education, but, a difficult thing to attain in chaotic Afghanistan. What makes the movie even more compelling is the amount of effort that took the crew in shooting a film in the country, despite the very tumultuous social environment. But despite that, the movie promises to a be a compelling mirror in contemporary Afghanistan’s social struggle.
The Forbidden Room
Directed by : Guy Maddin
Vulture commented that there is a 99 percent chance that The Forbidden Room is the weirdest movie of the year. Featuring paradoxical groups like a submarine crew, a pack of forest bandits, a surgeon and a battalion of child soldiers, The Forbidden Room is an eclectic collection of what seem like disengaged shorts, that almost seem to come together in the end. The movie is not just inventively fresh, but also bizarrely weird, reminiscent of Guy Maddin’s penchant for madness.
Directed by: Gurvinder Singh
The period of the early 80s marked one of the most tense periods in northern India’s history, due to the intense agitation fueled by Operation Blue Star . With the backdrop of the Sikh insurgency, Gurvinder Singh’s Chauthi Koot looks at the militant diktat in Punjab through the eyes of two men on their way to Amritsar. Having already been screened in the Un Certain Regard category at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, Chauthi Koot is a compelling look at one of the most significantly disturbing moments of post-independent Indian history. And if the reviews are anything to go, it’s definitely a movie to watch out.
Directed by: Raam Reddy
Raam Reddy’s Kannada film, Thithi, is the sole Indian film chosen to compete in MAMI’s International Competition, and that alone warrants that you watch the movie. The film, a dramatic comedy, is the portrayal of how three generations of sons react to the death of their cranky, 101 year old grandfather, Century Gowda. Shot with a bunch of non-professional actors, Thithi is a slice of life portrayal of India’s hinterland that often goes unrepresented. The film has garnered praise and awards at most prominent film festivals in the world, and deserves a worthy home audience.
Directed by : Paul Thomas Anderson
Jonny Greenwood has playing a compelling role in each Paul Thomas Anderson venture; exalting the music to the same dizzying heights as the master storyteller’s cinematic vision. With Junun, PTA, as Anderson is fondly and popularly called, followed Jonny Greenwood to India, documenting his collaboration with Israeli musician Shye Ben Tzur, and Indian folk collective The Rajasthan Express that led to an incredible performance at the World Sufi Spirit Festival in Rajasthan and a collaborative album, titled Junun, from which the documentary is borne. Music fans will find Junun to be an immersive experience as it brings forth the beauty of a culturally significant collaborative effort.
Directed by : Ritwik Ghatak
Ritwik Ghatak, alongside Satyajit Ray, is credited with having shaped the alternative cinema movement, or parallel cinema as it is oft called, in India. Literally meaning the Hindustani equivalent of the note ‘E Flat’, Komal Gandhar is part of Ghatak’s Meghe Dhaka Tara trilogy, and similarly deals with the aftermath of the 1947 partition. Seen through the eyes of the Indian People’s Theatre Association, Komal Gandhar looks at what remains of a post-Independent India, its struggles and its ideals, and remains one of the most prominent reflections of the period.
Directed by: Mirlan Abdykalykov
Truly reflective of the variety at MAMI 2015 is the inclusion of Kyrgyzstan’s official entry for the 88th Academy Awards, Heavenly Nomadic. With reviews that call it one of the most enthralling, dream-like visual experiences, Heavenly Nomadic looks at the clash between tradition and modernity as experienced by a horse-herding family in the mountains. While simplistic in plot, the movie’s fondness for expansive Kyrgyz landscape, and sensitive portrayal of its culture has been noted and applauded all over.
He named me Malala
Directed by: Davis Guggenheim
Young Malala Yousafzai is now one of the prominent faces of the modern education movement. The Nobel Prize winner rose to global consciousness after being shot at by the Taliban in the Swat valley of Pakistan. Since then, her advocacy of education, especially education for girls has been a movement much followed. Documenting Malala’s global education activism, her education and her messages is Davis Guggenheim’s documentary feature film, He Named Me Malala. The movie has garnered an outpouring of interest globally, and will be featured at MAMI in the World Cinema category.
Directed by : Satyajit Ray
The focal point of Satyajit Ray’s much celebrated and revered cinematic career is The Apu Trilogy; so much so, that it is almost criminal for a film lover to have not watched cinema that dealt best with coming-of-age angst. Composed of three movies – Pather Panchali, Aparijito and Apur Sansar, that chronicle Apu’s life, from his birth, to his adulthood, as he comes to terms with love, loss and responsibility. With an enthralling score by Ravi Shankar, the Apu Trilogy is often counted among landmark films that have helped shape cinema. Ray fan or not, experiencing the Apu Trilogy along with several other film zealots at MAMI is recommended.