MAMI Wrap Up – Day 2
We Are Open!
To a cinephile, every edition of MAMI feels monumental but this year, that word seems especially fitting. Last night, the festival kicked off its 18th year at a historic Mumbai landmark: the Royal Opera House, restored in all its majesty. If the setting was regal, the night’s honourees for the ‘Excellence in Cinema’ awards – Indian filmmaker Sai Paranjpye and Chinese maestro Jia Zhangke – have been the crown jewels of their respective cinematic cultures for years.
For Zhangke’s admirers, Day 1 of the festival is a special treat as the auteur will be sitting down for a Masterclass, a conversation with Chaitanya Tamhane, whose maiden film Court was India’s official Oscar entry. The Dailies also features an exclusive interview with the Chinese filmmaker on Page 2 alongside plenty of other exciting highlights from MAMI.
Today’s other big draw is expected to be A Death in the Gunj, MAMI’s opening night film (see Page 5 for preview). The thriller will mark the debut of actress Konkona Sensharma as a writer and director.
Away from this, there is still a lot to watch and absorb, from Pablo Larrain’s Neruda to Paradise by Andrei Konchalovsky. The true cinema lover is open to all experiences. So whether you are a festival first-timer or a movie geek aspiring to be India’s own Jia Zhangke, this year’s MAMI promises to keep you hooked. So welcome, reader, and happy viewing!
IN CONVERSATION: JIA ZHANGKE WITH CHAITANYA TAMHANE
The ‘In Conversation’ series proposes to place two renowned practitioners of film, who belong to very different geographical and political contexts, in front of each other. The intimate setting – essentially, a conversation inside the room – then allows them to engage with and explore their respective individual styles, distinct artistic sensibilities, interest in subjects and aesthetic strategies.
The series also provides an opportunity for the filmmakers and their audience to examine prevalent strategies – and challenges – of film production in their respective countries. This aspect of filmmaking is particularly interesting, for its sameness across the world and yet, in how it can also constitute minor differences that one may attribute to local context.
First in the series is Jia Zhangke, our Excellence in Cinema award-winner in conversation with director Chaitanya Tamhane.
Born in 1970 in Fengyang, Shanxi Province of China, Jia Zhangke attended the Department of Screenwriting and Cinema Studies of the Beijing Film Academy in 1993. In 1998, his first feature film Xiao Wu made waves, being awarded the Wolfgang Prize and the NETPAC Award. In 2006, his movie Still Life received the Golden Lion Award at the 63rd Venice International Film Festival. He also presided over the jury for Cinéfondation and short film competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007 and was awarded with the Carrosse d’Or during the 68th Cannes Film Festival.
Chaitanya graduated in English literature from Mithibai College of Arts, Mumbai. Six Strands (2010), his first fictional short film was screened at various international film festivals including Rotterdam, Clermont- Ferrand and Edinburgh. His debut feature film, Court (2014), premiered at the 71st Venice Film Festival and won the Lion of the Future award and the Orizzonti award for Best Film. The film also won the National Award for Best Feature Film and was India’s official entry to the Oscars. He has recently been selected for the Rolex Mentor – Protégé Arts Initiative under the mentorship of Alfonso Cuaron and has also served on the jury at the 73rd Venice Film Festival.
Ask Chaitanya about Jia Zhangke and he says, “Jia Zhangke is a personal hero of mine. I am completely in awe of his prodigious command over the medium, his evocative portrayal of human life, and his commitment to a personal truth. A towering giant of cinema, Zhangke is one of the most important artistic voices in the world.”
Movie Mela Celebrates
It started as a destination to celebrate popular cinema and has now grown into a full-fledged movie carnival. Catering to eternal Bollywood aficionados, Movie Mela gives them an opportunity to interact with the stars of mainstream cinema. This year, Movie Mela will take place over two days, doubling the fun and giving cinephiles a wider spread of movie-related events.
Witness the exclusive first look of SS Rajamouli’s highly anticipated film Baahubali 2: The Conclusion and indulge in a tete-a-tete with Karan Johar and the cast of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Get behind the scenes of the cult classic Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar with the cast and crew. Chat about the acting life with Shahid Kapoor and interact with directors Zoya Akhtar, Vishal Bhardwaj, Rohit Shetty, Gauri Shinde & Shoojit Sircar, as they talk about their distinct filmmaking styles. Don’t forget to catch the special premiere of Neeraj Pandey’s Ouch starring Manoj Bajpayee and explore the effect that VR is having on the storytelling landscape with Shakun Batra (Founder & Curator, VR at Jio MAMI With Star). Movie Mela offers this and a lot more!
Opening Film – A Death in the Gunj
Two-time National Award-winning actress Konkana Sensharma has wowed audiences with her indelible performance in front of the camera. And that is reason enough to get everyone excited about her directorial debut film A Death in the Gunj.
Set in the late 1970s, A Death in the Gunj is a human drama revolving around a family from Kolkata visiting their retired parents settled in McCluskiegunj over a span of seven days. The film revolves around the character Shyamal Chatterjee (Vikrant Massey) aka Shutu, a shy student who uses a road trip to the old Anglo-Indian town now in Jharkhand as an escape from his failed semester. In the week that follows, Shutu’s quiet unraveling is initially overlooked by the family revelers, until the holiday ends with an implosion.
A Studioz IDrream and Macguffin Pictures presentation, produced by Honey Trehan, Abhishek Chaubey, Raagii Bhatnagar, Ashish Bhatnagar and Vijay Kumar R Swami, A Death in the Gunj is the Opening Film at Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival with Star.