Stir of Echoes

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Stir of Echoes The impact of #MeToo movement is visible even as the 20th Mumbai Film Festival. (Representational Image)

THE impact of #MeToo movement, which has brought to the fore several accounts of sexual harassment and assault, is visible even as the 20th Mumbai Film Festival is trying to chin up and roll out the week-long annual event on Thursday evening.

Soon after #MeToo allegations surfaced, the festival dropped Rajat Kapoor-directed Kadakh, Chintu Ka Birthday directed by Satyanshu and Devanshu Singh on October 9, and later, Shazia Iqbal’s Bebaak. An earlier statement sent out by the festival’s creative director Smriti Kiran said, “We as an Academy (MAMI) strongly support the #MeToo movement. In light of recent developments, we have decided to drop the following films from our line-up — AIB’s Chintu Ka Birthday and Rajat Kapoor’s Kadakh.”

Chintu Ka Birthday is produced by All India Bakchod (AIB), whose members Tanmay Bhat and Gursimran Khamba have been facing the #MeToo heat. Director-producer Anurag Kashyap, too, stepped down as the trustee of MAMI following an alleged incident of harassment made by his assistant against his partner Vikas Bahl, at Phantom Films.

The festival line-up, which was revealed weeks ahead, however promises to showcase some of the best movies of the year from across the globe as well as those made in India. Announcing the line-up of 64 movies in the World Cinema section earlier, Kiran said, “Each year a new door opens for us that enables getting a film that would have been inaccessible the previous year. The line-up this year is four years of hardwork. We open the doors to welcome the flood of narratives that eluded us before.”

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The section features 64 films from 43 countries. Fourteen of them are helmed by female directors, who are brushing shoulders with well-known names such Pawel Pawlikowski, Jafar Panahi, Jean-Luc Godard, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Jia Zhangke, Alfonso Cuarón, Hong Sang-soo and Hirokazu Kore-eda. The festival is scheduled to open with Vasan Bala-directed 2017 film Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (The Man Who Feels No Pain).

Even though the #MeToo controversies affected the India Story section, which featured both Chintu Ka Birthday and Kadakh, there were several other titles to make it an impressive list. The line-up includes Bhonsle, Devashish Makhija’s directorial outing; Bird Of Dusk by Sangeeta Datta, and Hamid by Aijaz Khan.

The festival has also scheduled screenings of some very exciting movies under India Gold section. Indulge in love’s battle with Aadish Keluskar’s Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil, while last year’s festival favourite Rima Das returns with her third feature Bulbul Can Sing. The selection also has a range of titles that have been making waves at festivals including, Aditya Vikram Sengupta’s new film Jonaki and filmmaker Ivan Ayr’s Soni, which premiered at Venice International Film Festival this year.

This year the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival will be commemorating the life and incredible career of Sridevi and honouring her with the MAMI Tribute for her exceptional contribution to Indian cinema. The festival will also be honouring the renowned legacy and work of iconic Swedish auteur Ingmar Bergman.

To enhance the festival experience, there is a cinema carnival organised along with a series of discussions and masterclasses with an auditorium dedicated to this. Conversations with Argentine filmmaker Lucrecia Martel; Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos; filmmaker Darren Aronofsky; MUBI Founder Efe Cakarel; and filmmaker Sean Baker are part of the programme schedule. This year, Shyam Benegal, who was instrumental in starting the festival nearly two decades ago, will be honoured with Excellence in Cinema Award India for his defining contribution to Indian cinema. Register online at http://www.bookmyshow.com/mami. In addition to online registration, on-ground registration at all festival screening venues will open from October 24, between 9.30 am and 8 pm

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