Want to know what the Mumbai Film Festival is really all about?

We suggest hanging around the venues, and dropping some eaves- in the theatre lobby, the food court, in the Cinemax lift packed with delegates and if you’re at Metro, at Kayani, where even Leos Carax gets himself a cutting chai in between screenings.

Of course, if you’ve already done that, you’d already know which films are worth waiting up way past midnight for (I mean, braving the MFF online ticketing).

Here are the most popular films of the festival this year. How many did you manage to catch before it all went houseful at 2 am?

PS: This makes for an excellent list of films to catch up on the holidays …

Blue poster1.    Blue is the Warmest Color (La Vie d’Adele)

Dir: Abdellatif Kechiche


Trust the French to steal the spotlight at the film fest.

This one’s not a surprise at all. Long queues, forged SMS-tickets (yes, you know who you are), fights at the venue to get in, even the 736-seater Liberty felt small when it came to accommodating delegates who has queued up to watch this romance-drama about two young lesbians in love. Winner of this year’s Palme d’Or, it created history for being the only movie whose cast has won this award along with the director. Everyone’s been talking about the 13-minute long sex scene (the real runtime still remains a mystery- some men we spoke to swear its 20-minutes long!) and with the heated discussion between the actors and the director, the wait for those who’ve missed the film seems longer.

The film has released worldwide in Oct 2013, but there is no news about its Indian release so far. (IMDB says 25th October 2013, which we all know didn’t happen) Besides, what Indian audiences are going to see will be a highly truncated version of this 3-hour long film no doubt. Oh well, till then we can keep watching the beautiful trailer, shot on the C300 no less…

 Fandry poster2.    Fandry

Dir: Nagraj Manjule

India (Marathi)/2013/Col/103’

This seems to be the most-recommended film at the festival. Word-of-mouth, yeah. Mid-week, ask anyone what’s the best movie they’ve seen so far at MFF 2013 and pat comes the reply, followed by a glowing description of how Fandry has been ‘The Watch of the Festival’. Post-festival, this film seems to have stolen quite a few hearts as well, along with the coveted Grand Jury Prize for Best Film. We’ve been hearing only good things about Fandry, unanimously across all ages and movie-watching preferences. It remains the most highly-recommended film at the festival.

Catch it when it releases later in December this year.

Ilo Ilo Movie Poster3.    Ilo Ilo

Dir: Anthony Chen


Winner of the Camera d’Or and MFF’s Best Director award, Ilo Ilo played to packed audiences at both venues. The best thing about the film was that the audience seemed to love it. It’s one of those simple stories that has been shot and directed so beautifully. They cheered, laughed and clapped as the protagonists, a Fillipino maid and her Singaporean bosses’s boy, strike an unusual friendship, go through their ups and downs and take the audience on an emotional journey along with them.

No news about it’s release in India so far, but this is Singapore’s entry to the Oscars and might have a limited release around the time of the ceremony, depending on whether it wins or not. Either ways it would be a good idea to release the film in India, as audiences here connect to such a story easily, mostly drawing from personal experiences.

 Qissa poster4.    Qissa: The tale of a lonely ghost

Dir: Anup Singh

India (Punjabi)/2013/Col/109’

An interesting film just by the sound of it, it has all the ingredients for success. Irrfan Khan, Tillotama Shome, Tisca Chopra and Rasika Duggal.  Based on the India-Pakistan partition, a man in search of his identity. And thus, Qissa turned out to be quite the crowd-puller on Day 1 at Metro. Word soon spread that this film is much more than it promises to be, with many a mixed-reviews, critical acclaim and terms like ‘genre-bender’ and ‘gender-bender’, whispers about it being the favourite to win India Gold (It was awarded the Runner-up, losing out to Katiyabaaz). It’s easy to see why this film was so popular at the MFF.

Watch it and let us know what it does for you.

Le-Passe-Poster5.    Le Passe

Dir: Asghar Farhadi


If only I had a penny for every time someone proclaimed Farhadi their favourite director during MFF 2013. The excitement was palpable. Everyone queued up way before showtime, even those with the booked tickets. This one received mixed reviews as well, but those who were brave enough to own up that they didn’t quite like the film, only did so after carefully looking around, and that too in hushed tones. The director was in town for the festival after all, and for most, that was inspiration enough to brave the crowd who’d turned up for the film.

This film’s fairly accessible, and has more chances of a theatrical release, even if just for a week.

 holymotors6.    Holy Motors

Dir: Leos Carax


With the Fantastic Mr. Carax silently observing the MFF from the sidelines, delegates flocked to the screenings of his films and how. Holy Motors, Carax’s delightfully surreal (if I may even call it that) film was part of last year’s program too, and cinephiles were eagerly watching it this year too, many returning for the third time, this time with the added advantage of a Q and A with Mr. Carax post-screening no less. Those who haven’t watched it yet- wait for it. This movie is fantastically rewarding when viewed on the big screen, and we’re hoping, praying, for it to become a MFF regular. We will be back for the nth time, and so will others.