Neruda (2016) – Best of 18th JIO MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2016!

Neruda Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

The tale of a fugitive poet and his flitting poetries; Cinema at it’s best!

My Ratings: 4.3/5

There is nothing as beautiful an experience as a blend of pure poetry in cinema; when the dialogues turn into lucid verses, and the visuals infuse with the rhythm of the poet’s manoeuvring voice.

Yes, that’s exactly what the film Neruda is all about!

Neruda ReviewEssentially based on two characters – “In this fiction, we all revolve around the protagonist. A hero and a supporting character.” 

‘The protagonist’ is none other than the famous Chilean poet Pablo Neruda who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. But this is a story that dates much before the poet’s international fame, in the late 1940s when Neruda is being hunted in his own country for being a Communist!

And the ‘supporting character’ is Óscar Peluchonneau (played by none other than Gael García Bernal), the determined police officer who has the specific orders to hunt down Neruda – to ‘catch him and Neruda Reviewhumiliate him’.

Thus in between the priceless poetries and the endless humours, between the artist’s vulnerability and the stalker’s frustration – we experience a classic cat and mouse game, ‘a wild hunt’ that ends the way you would have least expected!

Directed by one of my favourite filmmaker Pablo Larraín, this one has already been selected as the official submission of Chile for the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ category for the 89th Academy Awards in 2017!

The performance of a life time by Luis Gnecco, as he plays the ever-popular, exotic, intellectual poet, Mercedes Morán as his aristocratic  wife and then of course the stunning Gael García Bernal, the man Neruda Reviewwho will chase down Neruda till the snowy surreal horizon.

Sergio Armstrong keeps the visuals artistic and beautifully wide-angled while Federico Jusid‘s music often adds a certain comic touch to the film.

Neruda, an unconventional biography, a poem in itself, a celebration of a genius and also a cinematic brilliance!

“Tonight, I can write the saddest lines.                                                                          I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.” – Pablo Neruda.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

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In conversation with Pulkit – the young and talented director of Maroon!

In Conversation with Pulkit – the young and talented director of Maroon!

interviewed by Souranath Banerjee

Nowadays it’s difficult to find the right combination of talent, determination and humility all in one person. And Pulkit, the young and gifted filmmaker have all these qualities and that too with a great sense of humour!

In Conversation with Pulkit as he talks about his journey as a filmmaker!

Hi Pulkit welcome to Cinema Forensic! 

Thank you.

How does it feel to watch your first feature film Maroon on the big screen at the prestigious Mumbai Film Festival?

It’s Great! It’s also a very weird kind of feeling I must tell you. You know when your film gets selected in the film festival they do a technical check, so they called me for that. On 24th morning I was sitting alone in the theatre and they played my film. Suddenly I started crying you know – what was happening! Something that I always dreamt about – I felt my career, my schooling, my college, pulkitcame to Bombay, just being 5 years in Bombay and now watching my own film in the big screen – it was a superb kick!

And then I was very nervous on how people will react, because you always love your baby, but the film is not for you na? So during the actual screening I couldn’t watch the film with the audience. I left the theatre. I came down, had coffee, cigarettes; and my assistant who was there in the theatre, she kept messaging me – like people are smiling, giggling, how they are reacting and all that.

Even after the screening, the question answers and all, I met the audience – ya it was superb. I know I will make another film but this thing won’t happen again – the first time experience – it was like pehli baar apko pyaar ho gaya‘. Very beautiful feeling!

Congratulations again Pulkit! Now let’s begin from the beginning. Tell me something about yourself, your background.

I was born in Bihar, Muzaffarpur. My parents still live there.

As a kid I was never good in studies (laughs). Actually my father being a businessman in Bihar I had so many restrictions – because at that time in Bihar children of businessmen used to get kidnapped a lot. So I wasn’t allowed to play with other kids, it was just going to school and back to home. I didn’t have any friends. I didn’t know what was happening around the world. Even in the newspapers it was always stories about crimes and murders. May be that’s why I am so keen in making dark films (laughs).

But the best thing happened to me in Bihar was music.  Since I wasn’t allowed to play I got interested into Indian classical music – I played pulkitTabla for thirteen years!

And so I asked my father to get me out of Bihar. And after 10th my dad got me admission into a boarding school in Haryana and I passed my 12th from there and that too with superb grades!

Then I took admission in Amity university Lucknow but I never wanted to be a graduate. So I didn’t attend any classes and just before my final exams I shifted to Mumbai!

It was May 2011. I got admission in Barry John Acting Studio but then again I realised i am too shy to be an actor. Then I tried assisting few people, some of the big shots in this industry. And within two years I became an associate and made good money but still there was no satisfaction. Night after night all you had to do was watch pulkitforeign films and copy references from them. I don’t believe in this module.

So, then me and Jyotsana (Jyotsana Nath is the current producer of Maroon), we both decided to quit our jobs and start something of our own.

And soon I wrote my first short film Bombay 1992, but that time we went over budget on the film. So I had to sell my car, ask money from my dad and finally the film got made. This short film taught me how important it is to control your budget.

And then how did the journey of Maroon got started? 

Actually before Maroon I wrote another script in 2014 and one of pulkitthe big studios was backing it at the time but due to their interference in the casting I had to take leave from the project.

Then it was very difficult, people here in Bombay they don’t entertain you, don’t trust you – why will they talk to me, why will they listen to my script? You go to a producer and they ask who is the actor? Then if you go to the actor he asks who is the producer? So independent directors are always in trouble.

So after writing the script of Maroon I narrated it to so many people, everyone loved it and they said ‘you should make it’ but no one actually stood by me. That’s the sad part.

But then Jyotsana was brave enough to come as producer and make this film happen because it was very important for me and Jyotsana to set an example – and we really did it without any compromise!

So after you wrote the screenplay of Maroon you were sure of Manav Kaul as the lead?

I approached Manav in 2014 with a different script of mine, a satire – controversial and dark. Manav said it will be difficult to get this film pulkitfunded and even released and asked me to write something else instead. He even assured me that he won’t charge a single penny from me!

And then I wrote Maroon. The idea was there with me for some time and I wrote the full screenplay in just thirteen days! I was assisting a friend of mine who was in the hospital and there only I wrote my first draft. And on the 14th day I went back to Manav, narrated the script and he said ‘let’s do it’!

How difficult was it to shoot the entire film within the specific time and budget constraints?

We started preproduction in June and we finally shot Maroon in October 2015.

We didn’t have any production team and we didn’t even know much about production. So a friend of ours, Vivek Kajaria who is a well known Marathi film producer – I asked him for guidance and he came on-board. So we took an estimation of how much money we have in our hands and how many exact days can we shoot without compromising the film.

The good part was all my actors, be it Manav Kaul or Sumeet Vyas didn’t take any money from us. They just loved the script and said pulkit‘we will make it’!

So we shot the entire film in 15 days without a break!

Everybody got so tired. And then again I wanted the film to be handheld and the Alexa camera is very heavy – so my DOP Soumik Mukherjee was drained and frustrated. For actors also, specially for Manav – what did go in favour of his performance was the actual lack of sleep which his character did require!

Three months of preproduction, fifteen days shoot, three months for sound and for music another four months!

Wow! So how did you plan out the sound design and music for Maroon?

The basic sound design of the film was there in my very first draft. Sound plays such a important role and I always wanted that sound should be the hero of my film. So yes Mandar Kulkarni did a great job.

And for the music Sagar Desai came on-board only after pulkitthe edit of the film. When I met Sagar I asked him to see the rough cut without sound, without music and asked for his suggestions. And he was so excited and came up with so many ideas – I really liked his excitement.

And lastly Pulkit, now that you have made your film and I am sure you will keep making many more and keep inspiring us, which are the directors who inspired you?   

Till 10th, 12th standard I didn’t have much exposure to films. While in Lucknow I started watching a bit of Hollywood films for the first time.

And then of course after coming to Bombay I started watching the so called classics. The first film that really inspired me was A Short Film About Killing by Krzysztof Kieslowski. Then I watched films of David Fincher, David Lynch and Hitchcock. I am always attracted towards dark kind of cinema because I really feel we all have a dark side that we tend to hide from everybody. And I know every one loves to watch dark films.

Thank you so much Pulkit for sharing your journey with us!

Most welcome (smiles). Will you have some tea?

Of course!

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18th JIO MAMI – the Closing Ceremony and the Awards!

18th JIO MAMI – the Closing Ceremony and the Awards! 

written by Souranath Banerjee

Every thing, no matter how good it is must come to an end!

And thus, with a dazzling star-studded closing ceremony the 18th JIO MAMI Mumbai Film Festival bids adieu to all us Cinema-ayan-mukerji-and-anurag-kashyaplovers!

The curtain fell on India’s biggest Film Festival, Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival with Star on Thursday, 27th October, 2016. The ceremony took place at Bal Gandharva Rangmandir, Bandra. World-renowned filmmakers, talent and Bollywood stars walked the red carpet to celebrate the end of Mumbai’s very own film festival’s latest edition.

Sonam Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Abhay Deol, Kabir Khan, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Abhijat Joshi, Rahul Bose, Kunal Kapoor, Zoya Akhtar, Ayan Mukerji, Vishal Bharadwaj, Anurag Kashyap, Shakun Batra, Konkona Sensharma, Rajkumar Hirani, Richa Chadda, Neha Sharma and others walked the red carpet at the closing ceremony along with Jio 18th-jio-mami-the-closing-ceremony-and-the-awardsMAMI with Star Co-chairperson Kiran Rao, Festival Director Anupama Chopra. Shweta Tripathi and Vicky Kaushal hosted the event.

Jio MAMI with Star Co-Chair, Kiran Rao said, “We are now at the end of this festival- a Festival that not only showcased work from all over the world but also provided cinephiles a chance to be a part of panels, workshops, and master classes with experts in the field, leaving them with the best of experiences. On this day, I am filled with profound gratitude and satisfaction and I would like to thank all our partners for going out of their way to support us.”

Festival Director, Anupama Chopra said “For the last 7 days, we 18th-jio-mami-the-closing-ceremony-and-the-awardshave all participated in a remarkable film feast. I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to our amazing audience, our fantastic sponsors and the fabulous film industry in Mumbai for helping us to make this edition such a success.”

And finally, the winners under various categories were announced.

HALF TICKET

  • The Golden Gateway Award (Feature) – ‘Hang in There, Kids!’ By Laha Mebow
  • The Silver Gateway Award (Feature) – ‘At Eye Level’ by Evi Goldbrunner and Joachim Dollhopf.
  • Special mention (Feature)– ‘Colours of Innocence’ by Mrinmoy Mondal and Shupratim Bhol.
  • The Golden Gateway Award (Short) – ‘A Town Called Panic: Back to School’ by Vincent Patar and Stephane Aubier. 
  • The Silver Gateway Award (Short) – ‘We Make Images’ by Nina Sabnani.
  • Special Mention (Short)- The Best Sound in the World by Pedro Paulo De Andrade.

Book Award

  • The Special Mention for Excellence in Writing on Cinema (Hindi) went to ‘Naye Daur Ka Naya Cinema’ by Priyadarshan.
  • The Special Mention for Excellence in Writing on Cinema (English)went to ‘Kanan Devi: The First Superstar of Indian Cinema’ by Mekhala Sengupta.
  • The Excellence in Writing on Cinema Award (Hindi) went to Anil Bhargava for ‘Bhartiye Cinema ka Itihas’.
  • The Jury announced The Excellence in writing on Cinema Award (English) in favor of Jai Arjun Singh for ‘The World of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’.

Festival Director Anupama Chopra along with Stephanie Zacharek, Film Critic- Time Magazine handed over the Young Critics Award to Matthew Vetticad.

  • Young Critics Choice Award went to ‘Cinema Travellers’ by Shirley Abraham and Amit Madhesiya.

Oxfam Award for Best Film on Gender Equality went to ‘Lipstick lipstick-under-my-burkha-posterUnder my Burkha’ by Alankrita Shrivastava.

Porush Singh, Country Corporate Officer, India and Division President, MasterCard South Asia handed over the ‘Mastercard Best India Female Filmmaker 2016 Award’ to Konkona Sensharma for the film ‘A Death in the Gunj’.

 

Nawazuddin Siddiqui gave away the ‘Audience Choice Award’ to the movie ‘The Salesman’ by Asghar Farhadi.

DIMENSIONS MUMBAI

  • The Golden Gateway Award was bestowed to Santosh Ganpat Kamble, Director of ‘Mumbai’s Mahuwa’ by Mr Mehmet Akay (General Manager- Western and Southern India, Turkish Airlines)
  • The Silver Gateway Award went to Tabu Kaariya, Director of ‘Ajeeb Dastan Hai Yeh’.
  • ‘Bombai’received The Special Mention (Dimensions Mumbai) Award by Director Yashwardhan Goswami.

INDIA GOLD

  • Haobam Paban Kumar received The Golden Gateway Awardfor ‘Lady of the Lake.’
  • The Silver Gateway Awardfor India Gold went to ‘The Narrow Path’ by Satish Babusenan and Santosh Babusenan.
  • The Jury Grand Prizewent to Aicheng Jai Dohutia for ‘The Hidden Corner.’
  • The Special Mentionwent to ‘Autohead’ by Deepak Sampath.
  • The Special Mention went to ‘Cinema Travellers’ by Shirley Abraham and Amit Madhesiya.

INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION

  • David Chou received The Golden Gateway Awardfor ‘Diamond Island’.
  • The winner of The Silver Gateway Awardfor International Competition was Ralitza Petrova for ‘Godless’.
  • The Jury Grand Prizewent to the movie ‘Everything Else’ by Natalia Almada.
  • Special Mention for Political Commitment of the Filmwent to ‘When Two Worlds Collide’.
  • The Special Mentionwent to Macarena Arias for the film ‘Alba’.

Photo courtesy: mumbaifilmfest.com

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18th JIO MAMI – The Events and The Star-struck Moments!

18th JIO MAMI MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL with STAR 2016 – the Star-struck Moments!

written by Souranath Banerjee

To engage and communicate with the film buffs of our country Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival for the last few years has been amitabh-and-jaya-bachchanincluding multiple interactive sessions and events that make the overall experience of the film festival all the more interesting!

So here are some of the best events of this year!

MOVIE MELA:

Jio MAMI Movie Mela with Star ended on a high note with three panel discussions and up close and personal chats with some of the most celebrated names in the Indian film industry.

Panel One: VR discussion with Gabo Arora, Raja Koduri, Anand karan-johar-and-aishwarya-rai-bachchanGandhi and moderator Shakun Batra pondered upon current usage of virtual reality.

Panel Two: In conversation with Directors – Rohit Shetty, Zoya Akhtar, Vishal Bhardwaj, Gauri Shinde and Shoojit Sircar, moderated by film critic Rajeev Masand and Jio MAMI with Star, Festival Director Anupama Chopra.

Panel Three: Actor Shahid Kapoor in conversation with Rajeev Masand and Anupama Chopra about his journey in the industry so far.

PLAY SECTION ON WEB SERIES

Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival with Star had an exciting day at PLAY, the youngest section which celebrates the digital narrative through the best of web series of India.

Panel one: The Writers Panel saw some interesting insights on how the web series content is driven to the young audience and how 18th JIO MAMI MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL with STAR 2016writers want to connect to the youth of India because television as a medium has nothing for them. This panel had Sumeet Vyas (TVF- Permanent Rommates & Tripling), Nidhi Bisht (TVF), Sattvik Mishra (ScoopWhoop), Varun Grover (Writer), Preetika Chawla (Actor-Producer), Naveen Richard (Writer-Actor) in conversation with Shreevasta Nevatia.

Panel two: The Business Panel had some industry experts talking about the business of web series and how profitable the model is? This panel included Sameer Saxena (TVF Originals), Anand Tiwari (Actor-Writer), Rohan Sippy (Producer), Ashish Patil (Y-Films), Samir Nair (Balaji Telefilms) and Swara Bhaskar (Actor) in 18th JIO MAMI MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL with STAR 2016conversation with curator Nikhil Taneja.

The Best of PLAY saw the team of TVF Permanent Roommates, TVF Tripling, Y-Films Sex chat with Pappu and Pappa, Not Fit by Dice Media and many more.

PLAY also world premiered some of the web series which included Little things (Pocket Aces), NRI (OML), Qisson ka Kona (OML), Ramsay Reloaded (101 India), Sneh (ScoopWhoop) and Yes Kaneez (OML).

SPECIAL SCREENING FOR THE UNDER PRIVILEGED YOUTH OF THE COUNTRY

Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival with Star, in association with Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA), presented a special anupama-chopra-and-kiran-raoscreening for the under privileged youth of the country. Le Reve (Globus), Bandra hosted the screening of ‘Shree Devi Phataka’, directed by Navin Chapade on October 23rd, 2016 for youth from the deprived areas of Mankhurd, Ambujwadi, Jogeshwari, Wadala, Chembur and few other parts of Maharashtra.

WOMEN IN FILM

Day Five at the Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival with Star saw some great sessions for film as well as television audiences.

Starting from the Oxfam and Jio MAMI with Star Women in Film Brunch at JW Marriot saw some powerful like MAMI Chairperson, Kiran Rao, Oxfam head, Nisha Agarwal, Konkana SenSharma, Richa Chaddha, Poonam Dhillon, Ekta Kapoor, Leena Yadav, Deborah oxfam-women-in-film-pannelYoung, Maanvi Gagroo, Nidhi Singh and more.

Oxfam discussed Women and Films with Oxfam Head, Nisha Agarwal, Christine Vachon, Leena Yadav, Rucha Pathak, Tala Hadid, Vibha Bakshi, Tillotama Shome and moderator Rahul Bose. The discussion covered topics like the portrayal of women in Indian cinema and how it affects the way we portray their roles in our society.

And then there were some very interesting events to follow:

18th JIO MAMI MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL with STAR 2016Television Vertical screened the world premiere of ‘P.O.W.’ The panel included Primetime Emmy Winner Cary Fukunaga, Gideon Raff, Gaurav Banerjee and Nikkhil Advani in conversation with Nikhil Taneja about the changes in the way TV series have evolved over the years.

Mani Kaul’s tour de force, Ahamaq, was on the big screen for the ahamaq-reunion-posterfirst time. Uncut and in its pure form Ahamaq a nostalgic celebration. Present for the screening were cast including Mita Vashisht, Ashish Rajadhyaksha, D Wood, Vikram Joglekar and others.

Remembering Bimal Roy was a special tribute to someone who has a 18th JIO MAMI MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL with STAR 2016big contribution to our entire cinema heritage. Joy Bimal Roy, Jaya Bachchan, Apurva Asrani, Nasreen Munni Kabir, Namrata Joshi in conversation with Rauf Ahmed.

Events and Films, 18th JIO MAMI MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL with STAR 2016 a heaven for all you Cinema-Lovers. Enjoy!

Photo courtesy: mumbaifilmfest.com

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18th JIO MAMI Opening Ceremony 2016 – the glamour and the glitz!

18th JIO MAMI Opening Ceremony 2016 – the glamour and the glitz!

written by Souranath Banerjee

JIO MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival 2016, it’s happening right now, right here and it’s a heaven for film lovers!

And this time MAMI had one of the most grand Opening Ceremony ever!

The Venue:

Mumbai, October 20, 2016: Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star kicked off its 18th edition with a grand ceremony at the iconic Royal Opera House as world-renowned filmmakers, talent and 18th JIO MAMI Opening Festival 2016Bollywood stars walked the red carpet to celebrate the city’s very own film festival.

The Royal Opera House is the last standing Baroque building in Mumbai. The royal family of Gondal – the owners of the venue – have worked towards ensuring the complete restoration of this centre under the watchful eye of conservation architect Abha Narain Lambah. The iconic structure has a long standing association with art, literature, theatre, music, and has hosted operas and live performances of many celebrated artists.

The stars:

Bollywood came in full support at the 18th JIO MAMI Opening Festival 2016 Red Carpet which was attended by Amitabh 18th JIO MAMI Opening Festival 2016Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Poonam Dhillon, Ayan Mukerji, Vinod Chopra, Genelia Dsouza, Shabana Azmi , Zoya Akhtar, Kalki Koechlin, Shobha De,  Rajeev Samant,  Reema Kagti, Ashutosh and Sunita Gowariker, Huma Quershi, Rahul Bose, Harshvardhan Kapoor,  Kunal Kapoor, Nandita Das, R Balki, Abhishek Kapoor, Mini Mathur, Imran Khan, Diya Mirza, Richa Chaddha,  Abhay Deol, Vicky Kaushal and many more.

Jacqueline Fernandez hosted the event. Also present were Festival Director Anupama Chopra, Co-Chairperson Kiran Rao and other 18th JIO MAMI Opening Festival 2016Board of Directors including Anurag Kashyap, Rohan Sippy, Riteish Deshmukh, Siddharth Roy Kapur and Vikramaditya Motwane.

Star quotes:

Mrs. Nita Mukesh Ambani, Festival Co-Chair said, “We are all privileged to be here at the resurrected Royal Opera House in its new avatar, a quintessential Mumbai Icon that has been lovingly brought to life for all of us. We really could not have asked for a more befitting venue to open this festival. In the true tradition of the Mumbai, Jio MAMI continues to delight us and surprise us.  Each year they are raising the bar higher and higher for themselves. The festival has put together a truly 18th JIO MAMI Opening Festival 2016incredible program and a stellar line-up of films this year. Today is my proud privilege to announce and introduce a new category of award- ‘The Jio MAMI Award for Excellence in Digital Narrative Content’. Through this award we want to discover and celebrate, the talent and potential of our youth. This award will be presented from next year onward. We hope this award will encourage young talent to reimagine their creative promise and take Indian cinema to newer and greater 18th JIO MAMI Opening Festival 2016heights, especially in the digital space. Jio MAMI is of Mumbai, by Mumbai and of Mumbai.”

Uday Shankar, CEO, Star India said, “Mumbai Film Festival stands out as a more celebratory event than a ceremonial one. It celebrates great stories and serves as a podium for young talent. In our third year of association with MAMI, our endeavour is to make world-class cinema an accessible and organic experience to the people of Mumbai – a city with deep roots in cinema and its 18th JIO MAMI Opening Festival 2016history.”

Festival Director, Anupama Chopra said, “The 18th Edition of the festival will celebrates stories and cinema traditions from around the world. We hope that people enjoy this film feast.”

Creative Director, Smriti Kiran said, “Dazzled by the elegance and grandeur of the Opening Ceremony of the festival at the Royal Opera House. At one point I think I was not even breathing. Over 18th JIO MAMI Opening Festival 2016500 film lovers ringing in the festival for 2016. It was a dream come true.”

The Award for ‘Excellence in Cinema-India’ was presented to Director and screenwriter Sai Paranjpye by Mrs. Jaya Bachchan. Paranjpye has won numerous awards, both National and International for her writing and films. She was conferred with the prestigious Padma Bhushan in 2006 and has served on numerous juries and has been the Chairperson of the Children’s Film Society of India.

On receiving the Award for Excellence in Cinema-India, Filmmaker and Screenwriter Sai Paranjpye said, “It is wonderful to see the program being made here, encouraging new directors and women directors. I really feel privileged to receive this award from Mrs. Jaya Bachchan 18th JIO MAMI Opening Festival 2016in the magnificent Royal Opera House.”

The Award for ‘Excellence in Cinema- International’ was presented to Chinese Filmmaker, Jia Zhangke known for his cinematic representation of his country’s post-Mao and post-globalization cultural history. His recent films A Touch of Sin, 2013; Mountains May Depart, 2015), has offered a unique perspective on a transitional generation whose commonplace lives evoke universal resonance. The award to Jia Zhangke was presented by Actor Aamir Khan.

On receiving the Award for Excellence in Cinema- International, Chinese Filmmaker Jia Zhangke said, “It is the first time I am coming to Mumbai and India and really thankful to MAMI film festival and the film fraternity.  No matter if its China or India, we have really good 18th JIO MAMI Opening Festival 2016audience and we should continue to produce good movies for them.”

Also present at the Opening Ceremony were the esteemed jurors of India Gold section – Head of Jury Reha Erdem, Mychael Danna, Stephanie Zacharek, Yonfan and Tomasz Wasilewski. Head of International Competition Jury, Miguel Gomes was present along with other jurors Tala Hadid, Chris Mcdonald, Anurag Kashyap and Christine Vachon.

The special guests of the evening were nine delegates from Bhutan who were especially flown down to Mumbai to experience this 18th JIO MAMI Opening Festival 2016festival. The Hon’ble Secretary of Ministry of Information and Communications – Mr. Dasho Karma W Penjor, Librarian, Department of Information and Media – Mr. Thinley Dorji, Assistant Information and Media, Department of Information and Media- Mr. Phub Wangdi, and other members from the Bhutan Film Association were present to grace the evening.

Four-time National Award winner, Shankar Mahadevan gave a mesmerising performance at the opening ceremony!

Photo courtesy: mumbaifilmfest.com

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The Neon Demon Review

The Neon Demon Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

Blinding colour contrasts, a beautiful world so filled with blood and gory!   

My Ratings: 3.9/5

When you are watching a Nicolas Winding Refn film, be it the slick and classy Ryan Gosling starrer Drive (2011) or Tom Hardy‘s loud and insane performance in and as Bronson (2008); there is always something to expect, something quite out of the ordinary.

neon-demon-posterAnd even in his latest movie The Neon Demon, Mr.Refn haven’t let us down for sure.

This time he presents the unique story of ‘beauty’ and then he introduces the ‘beast’ as well, portraying the dementia and delirium that lurks behind the glitz and glamour of the fashion world!

16 year old Jesse (Elle Fanning), new to Los Angeles fashion circuit quickly manages to climb the ropes to become one of the top models making her competitors jealous and insecure. And they will do anything to get back in the game, to compete with Jesse’s spark and youth!

And before you realise, the film The Neon Demon changes from a story of a pretty vulnerable girl looking for stardom to something unimaginably horrific – often surreal but almost always effectively neon-demon-poster1disturbing.

Acting performances are top notch, specially for young Elle Fanning and Jena Malone, whose transformations in the film are simply brilliant!

Even Christina HendricksBella HeathcoteAbbey LeeDesmond Harrington demands attention. Even if you see Keanu Reeves in the film – stay calm.

Natasha Braier must be credited for the brilliance of the colour, tone and ambiance of the whole film – the feel of a brutal fantasy, a savage dream from which there is no waking up!

The Neon Demon essentially revolves around the idea of human obsession with natural beauty. Unique style and treatment, disturbingly beautiful, but then again not recommended for everybody.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

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The Wailing (2016)

The Wailing Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

A bit too long for a horror film and yet, it still manages to grip you by the fear! 

My Ratings: 4/5

There was a soaring anticipation for this latest horror flick made by the acclaimed South Korean filmmaker Hong-jin Na who had earlier given us a couple of brilliant movies like The Chaser and The Yellow Sea!  

the-wailing-poster1And I must say The Wailing (original title Goksung) surely lives up to our expectations!

In a remote village a series of unnatural deaths perplex both the villagers and the police.

Jong-Goo (Do Won Kwak), a police man soon suspects something beyond ordinary logic and reasoning; may be the rumours of a demonic stranger who have started residing near the village has to do something with all these grotesque murders. Or may be not!

Essentially a Korean folk lore and a mix of various religious beliefs and rituals, The Wailing creates a world so puzzling and disturbing the-wailing-posterthat we keep seeking for the answers till the very end frames of the film.

Visually pleasing or rather unsettling; dark images, often pretty violent and savage perfect for the mood of the film – thanks to Kyung-pyo Hong‘s cinematography.

And such brilliant acting – very believable performances by Do Won KwakJun Kunimura,  Jung-min Hwang, specially the little girl Hwan-hee Kim was superb in the film.

A must watch suspense-horror that reveals itself when you least expect it!    

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

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Best International Films to watch at the 18th JIO MAMI MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL with STAR 2016 (10+1list)

Best International Films to watch at the 18th JIO MAMI MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL 2016

written by Souranath Banerjee

And finally that moment is here, that very event for which we all Cinema-Lovers have been impatiently waiting for – the 18th JIO MAMI MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL 2016 starts from 20th Oct!

And so, it’s time to check out the best of World Cinema – International films (Fiction) that demands your attention while you get busy with the festival!

1. I, Daniel Blake

Fiction | Section: World CinemaCountry: UK, France, Belgium | Year: 2016. Language/s: English | Time: 100 Mins.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahWgxw9E_h4

i-daniel-blake-posterA middle aged carpenter who after a heart attack requires state welfare, befriends a single mum and her two kids and it’s their brilliant emotional story of friendship and survival.

Directed by Ken Loach, the film won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year!

Dave Johns incredible performance, certainly one of the must watch films of this festival!

2. Personal Shopper

Fiction | Section: RendezvousCountry: France | Year: 2016 Language/s: English | Time: 105 Mins.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIRGyoyBHS8

personal-shopper-posterThe fashion underworld of Paris, a young American woman making her living as a personal shopper for a celebrity may have some psychic ability to communicate with the spirits!

A brilliant performance by Kristen Stewart, and directed by Olivier Assayas who shared the Best Director prize at the Cannes Film Festival this year along with Christian Mungiu!

3. The Salesman

Fiction | Section: World CinemaCountry: Iran, France | Year: 2016. Language/s: Farsi | Time: 123 Mins.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgPdkCB7sKY

the-seperation-posterEmad and Rana, a young couple who happen to be performers rehearsing for Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” living in Tehran had to move to a new apartment, a rented one.

But then their relationship gets complicated in more ways than you can imagine.

Directed by Asghar Farhadi, one of the most anticipated films in the festival!

4. Graduation

Bacalaureat (original title)

Fiction | Section: World CinemaCountry: Romania | Year: 2016 Language/s: Romanian | Time: 128 Mins.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VimmuogOOks

graduation-posterA unique father-daughter drama that circles around various intricate emotions and compromises related to parenthood.

Brilliant performances by Adrian Titieni and Maria-Victoria Dragus as the father daughter duo.

Directed by Cristian Mungiu who shared the Best Director prize at the Cannes Film Festival this year along with Olivier Assayas.

5. The Woman Who Left

Ang babaeng humayo (original title)

Fiction | Section: World CinemaCountry: Philippines | Year: 2016 Language/s: Tagalog | Time: 226 Mins

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiciSsltTFw

the-woman-who-left-posterA stylishly shot black and white revenge drama directed by Lav Diaz.

A woman plans to take revenge on her former lover, after she had to endure 30 years of wrongful imprisonment.

Incredibly slow, extensive long takes, a nearly four hours long movie – but this one won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival this year!

6. Aquarius

Fiction | Section: World CinemaCountry: Brazil, France | Year: 2016. Language/s: Portuguese | Time: 145 Mins

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Zln78CcFkA

aquarius-posterAquarius, a two-storey old building and Clara, a 65-year-old widow is the only resident left in that apartment. And she is not ready to sellout at any cost to the company desperate to buy out the whole building.

Nominated for Palme d’Or at the Cannes – directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho, a superbly engaging drama and a brilliant performance by Sonia Braga.

 

7. The Wailing 

Goksung (original title)

Fiction | Section: After DarkCountry: South Korea | Year: 2016 Language/s: Korean | Time: 156 Mins.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43uAputjI4k

the-wailing-posterA stranger appears and the horrific rumours starts to spread throughout the village. And then there is death – a series of gruesome killings without any logical reasons!

(Click for Review)

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Hong-jin Na, this is a perfect horror thriller which will keep you guessing till the end! 

8. The Red Turtle

La tortue rouge (original title)

Fiction | Section: RendezvousCountry: France, Belgium | Year: 2016. Language/s: French | Time: 80 Mins

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw7BggqBpTk

the-red-turtle-posterAn animation film without dialogues!

It’s about a shipwrecked man on a deserted tropical island inhabited by turtles, crabs and birds – a brilliantly beautiful film like a fable or a fairy tale!

Directed by Michael Dudok de Wit, this is one of the prime attraction in the festival since it is the first non-Japanese film to be produced by Studio Ghibli.

9. Under the Shadow (2016)

Fiction | Section: After DarkCountry: Jordan, Qatar, UK | Year: 2016. Language/s: Farsi | Time: 83 Mins

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHVFP80Upxw

under-the-shadow-posterSet in Tehran, 1988 during the Iran-Iraq war, a mother and daughter struggle to cope with the terrors of the war. But then the war is not the only horror they have to endure.

Great acting and superb storytelling, directed by Babak Anvari; this one is a slow paced horror film that lets the tension built up in its own time and yes – the effect is damn scary. 

10. Swiss Army Man

Fiction | Section: World CinemaCountry: USA | Year: 2016 Language/s: English. Time: 97 Mins.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrK1f4TsQfM

swiss-army-man-posterA young man named Hank (Paul Dano) gets stranded in an island all alone – yup, exactly like Tom Hanks in Cast Away but instead of a floating Volleyball named Wilson, Hank gets a farting dead-body named Manny (Daniel Radcliffe)!

(Click for Review)

Directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert comes an imaginative, humorous and cinematic satire.

 

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most interesting one. A must watch)

+1. Madly

Fiction | Section: World CinemaCountry: USA, UK, India, Australia, Japan, Argentina. | Year: 2015. Language/s: English, Hindi, Japanese, Spanish| Time: 105 Mins.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJbO8FY3o9U

A global anthology consisting of six short films made by filmmakers madly-posterrepresenting Japan, Argentina, the UK, the USA, India and Australia with a common goal to dissect love!

Directed by Gael García Bernal,  Anurag KashyapNatasha KhanSebastián SilvaSion Sono and Mia Wasikowska – definitely one of the prime attractions of this festival.

A few other films that are totally worth your time are Endless PoetryAfter the StormNerudaThe Lovers and the DespotElleManchester by the SeaAusterlitz and Hounds of Love.

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com and mumbaifilmfestival.com.

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Swiss Army Man (2016)

Swiss Army Man Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

A bit over-glorified but then again, certainly the most eccentric film of this year! 

My Ratings: 3.6/5

Some films have pretty weird storylines (in Hollywood standard) but a rare few can really define the word ‘weird’ in its true context, and Swiss Army Man is one such film.

A young man named Hank (Paul Dano) gets stranded in an island all alone – yup, exactly like Tom Hanks in Cast Away but instead of a swiss-army-man-posterfloating Volleyball named Wilson, Hank gets a farting dead-body named Manny (Daniel Radcliffe)!

A dead-body who soon starts talking!

But then again, Manny is not just any ordinary talking-dead-body.

He is an unique multipurpose friendly-body who farts away on water like a speed-boat, his penis can be used as a compass, his fingers for lighting fire, his vomit as pure drinking water and he can also spit out things with superhuman velocity!

Didn’t I tell you in the beginning that this would be a very weird 1hr 37 min journey?

And so, Manny the super talented dead-body gets very friendly with Hank and tries his best to make Hank survive and return to swiss-army-man-poster1humanity or what we in general refer to as the ‘normal’!

Being a satire on our current society, writer/director duo Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert through their over the top loud gags and often pretty gross comic situations does manage to give us some deep imbedded messages through their film Swiss Army Man

Acting is superb, specially of Daniel Radcliffe as the dead body!

Imaginative, often really humorous and even cinematic, overall, Swiss Army Man is a film that embraces the absurdity and irrationality around us and makes us question and redefine our current social scenario (to some extent).

A decent one time watch if you can survive the repetitive dead-farts till the end!

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

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Best Indian Films to watch at the 18th JIO MAMI MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL with STAR 2016 (10+1list)

Best Indian Films to watch at the 18th JIO MAMI MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL with STAR 2016

written by Souranath Banerjee

And finally that moment is here, that very event for which we all Cinema-Lovers have been impatiently waiting for – the 18th JIO MAMI MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL 2016 starts from 20th Oct!

And so, it’s time to check out some of the best Indian films (Fiction) that demands your attention while you get busy with the festival!

  1. A Death in the Gunj

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XliKkuxa_nA

a-death-in-the-gunj-posterA unique coming of age film based on a young boy who has some conflicted ideas of masculinity.

Featured in the Section: Opening Film, the film cast includes Gulshan DevaiahKalki KoechlinVikrant MasseyOm PuriTillotama ShomeRanvir ShoreyTanuja among others.

The opening film at the festival and also actor Konkona Sen Sharma’s directorial debut.

2. Lipstick Under My Burkha

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpHqeHF8NM0

lipstick-under-my-burkha-posterDirected by Alankrita Shrivastava, the film featured in the Section: India Gold chronicles the secret lives of four small-town women who wants to break-free from their regular lives, and rebel in search of freedom.

The film features a very interesting starcast – Konkona Sen SharmaRatna PathakVaibbhav TatwawdiSushant SinghShashank Arora among others. 

3. Idiot (TV Mini-Series)

Ahamaq (original title)

Featured in the Section: The New Medium this film was originally a idiot-postertelevision series based on Dostoevsky’s famous novel by the same name.

Featuring Shah Rukh KhanMita VasishtAyub Khan-Din among others and directed by the acclaimed Mani Kaul in the year 1991, this earlier unreleased movie is definitely one of the prime attraction in the festival.

4. Tu Hai Mera Sunday

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJxbALLv6ug

tu-hai-mera-sunday-posterDirected by Milind Dhaimade, this is the story of five friends who struggle to find a place to play football in Mumbai.

Featured in the Section: India Gold, this movie is not only about missing the every-Sunday football game ritual at the Juhu Beach, but it’s also about growing up, about friendship and about finding one’s own space, and then of course happiness!

 5. Bioscope

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nlw58ZW-ViI

Mitraa directed by Ravi Jadhav, Bail by Girish Mohite, Ek Hota Kau by bioscope-posterViju Mane and Dili e Nadaan by Gajendra Ahire – four talented directors and their four short films!

Featured in the Section: Marathi Talkies, this is a highly anticipated anthology film in the festival that is definitely worth your time!

6. Kalpana (1948) 

kalpana-posterThe genius dancer Uday Shankar directed and acted in this classic film which is currently featured under the Section: The New Medium at the festival. 

A unique form of story telling, a real “dance film” – rare and brilliant, such accurate compositions and use of various dance forms makes this film visually breathtaking and highly unconventional as well.

7. Autohead

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOLzzdTWBKs

autohead-posterSection: India Gold, directed by Rohit Mittal, this one is a feature length mockumentary in which a documentary crew follows a notorious auto rickshaw driver called Narayan in the suburbs of Mumbai. 

The movie overall has a voyeuristic quality since the film-crew directly becomes the part of this weird, sexually frustrated and often mentally deranged life of the auto driver. Dangerous and realistic at the same time!

8. Maroon

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9g81zbVHA0

maroon-posterThe story is of an insomniac university professor in Dehradun, who betrayed by his loving wife has been marooned into loneliness; where he suffers psychologically and becomes delusional.

A thriller that is being featured under the Section: The India Story, directed by Pulkit – and casting  Manav KaulDevyaniSaurabh SachdevaSumeet Vyas among others.

9. Pinky Beauty Parlour

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KTFUg3YwBs

Directed by Akshay Singh, this film makes a statement on the Indian obsession of fair skin!pinky-beauty-parlour-poster The story revolves around a certain beauty parlour in Banaras run by two sisters Pinky and Bulbul.

But the film takes a different turn when a body is being found and soon two police men come to investigate. Featuring under Section: The India Story, this film is surely something to look out for in this festival.

10. Donkey in a Brahmin Village (1977)

Agraharathil Kazhuthai (original title)

Featured in the Section: The New Medium, this brilliant piece of cinema is a satire told in an uniquely innovative and surreal agraharathil-kazhuthai-posternarrative style!

Directed by the renowned filmmaker John Abraham, the movie is basically on brahminical bigotry and superstitions.

On the brink of being banned and the film was highly ignored for a long time inspite of receiving a national award!

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most interesting one. A must watch)

+1. Anatomy of Violence (2016)

anatomy-of-violence-posterThough categorised as a Canadian entry, this film is based on an Indian issue, the language is Hindi and it’s also made by an acclaimed director from Indian origin, none other than Deepa Mehta!

The film revolves around the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old girl by six men inside a moving bus in New Delhi, December 2012. A fictionalised take on the incident and the consequences of such a gruesome crime on our society.

A few docu-fictions that also looks enticing and entertaining India in a DayThe Cinema TravellersBurqa Boxers and An Insignificant Man

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com and mumbaifilmfestival.com.

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