MAMI announces its line-up of the coveted India Gold competition category with 10 shortlisted films.
Roughly in a month, the movie theatres in the city will be drawing huge queues from movie aficionados, as Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star is going to be back with its annual treat for movie-lovers in the country. Entering into its 21st year this year, MAMI has already shortlisted 10 films for its coveted India Gold competition category that demonstrates a fair display of India’s cultural diversity. Along with pushing boundaries with riveting stories, the selection boasts of narratives in various Indian languages like Pahari, Maithili, Assamese, Nepali, Hindustani, and Bengali.
Animator Gitanjali Rao’s Bombay Rose, a hand-painted, romantic yet realist love letter to the city of Mumbai, is the one to lookout for in the category, as the movie has already garnered buzz at its premiere at Venice Film Festival, and subsequent screening at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). A rather peculiar art-house cinematic offering comes in the form of Bhaskar Hazarika’s Ravening (Aamis), which was also screened at Tribeca Film Festival, as he juxtaposes romance with horror when he explores a woman’s desire and appetite.
For Saurav Rai, whose maiden feature, Invitation (Nimtoh), is going to premiere at the festival after having participated in the Cannes Film Market this year, the selection appears to be surreal. “For some years, I’ve been attending MAMI and discovered a gem of the films from around the world. But to be able to participate with my own film, that too in such a prestigious section is indeed surreal,” says Saurav who will be bringing to screen the story of Tashi, a 10-year-old, and his grandmother who are the caretakers of a cardamom orchard.
Another movie set to premiere at MAMI is Pearl of the Desert (Maru ro Moti). Pushpendra Singh tells the story about Moti Khan, a musically gifted child from the lower caste Muslim Manganiyars of the Thar desert, who runs away from home to follow his dreams of becoming a singer. Talking about the growing interest of indie-filmmakers in considering MAMI as a launchpad for international film festivals, Pushpendra shares, “MAMI has developed itself into an important film festival in the festival circuit in the last few years. Its importance can be judged from the fact that films like Liar’s Dice and Ghode Ko Jalebi Khilaane Le Ja Raha Hoon had their world premiere here and then premiered at Sundance. Similarly, many Indian films have premiered here and then went on to be screened at other A-listers like Berlin, Rotterdam etc. Many film festival programmers and distributors come here to discover Indian films.” Achal Mishra’s family saga, Gamak Ghar, is also premiering at MAMI this year.
Archana Atul Phadke’s About Love, Gurvinder Singh’s Bitter Chestnut (Khanaur), Prateek Vats’ Eeb Allay Ooo!, Kislay’s Just Like That (Aise Hi) and Yashaswini Raghunandan’s That Cloud Never Left are the other films competing in the category. “India Gold is at the heart of our selection. We are an international film festival but bringing the best Indian narratives to the world and to India is at the core of our mission. Festivals from across the world have now begun to look at us as the gateway to credible Indian cinema and we take that responsibility very seriously. I am happy we are able to take the narrative forward for our storytellers a notch higher every year,” says Smriti Kiran, Artistic Director of the festival that will commence with the screening of the Malayalam- language movie Moothon on October 17.