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Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star announces a powerfully diverse lineup for its 21st edition

The festival is scheduled to be held from 17th to 24th October, 2019~

Mumbai, 30th September 2019: India’s biggest film festival for cinematic disruption and discovery, Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star, is set to return with its 21st edition. The platform announced its stellar film and talent lineup for the upcoming edition at a press conference held at JW Marriott, Juhu. The event was attended by MAMI Board of Trustees Zoya Akhtar, Vishal Bhardwaj, Siddharth Roy Kapur, Rohan Sippy, Kiran Rao, Ajay Bijli along with Festival Director Anupama Chopra and Artistic Director Smriti Kiran.

The Jio MAMI 21st Mumbai Film Festival with Star is the only festival in India that has become a fast emerging global platform in the last five years. The festival has transformed into the most sought-after event, helmed by contemporary professionals from the industry, attended by global stalwarts and supported by both Indian and International film communities. Through its innovative and well curated programming, the festival has increased its footprint worldwide. The festival has emerged as the most trusted partner for curating and connecting India to National and International content platforms. A platform that brings together both Independent and Mainstream cinema and educates audiences across the world. It has pioneered initiatives that fill gaps and has added value by showcasing the best of Indian and World cinema.

The eight-day festival scheduled to start on 17th October boasts of over 190 films including over 50 debuts, 13 world premieres, spanning 53 countries and 49 diverse languages. Over the last five years, the festival has established itself as a preferred platform for anything cinema in the country. It brings together the best cinematic experiences for film enthusiasts and serves as a discovery and launch platform for its filmmakers. 

Highlights of Jio MAMI 21st Mumbai Film Festival with Star:

  • Buzziest titles of the edition:

The festival will open screens across the city to thousands of cinema lovers with some of the best cinema from India and around the world. A few of the big ticket films include Marriage Story by Noah Baumbach, Ad Astra by James Gray, Honey Boy by Alma Har’el, The Souvenir by Joanna Hogg, Midsommar by Ari Aster and Sorry We Missed You by Ken Loach.

  • Excellence in Cinema Award 2019 (International) & Masterclass – Fernando Meirelles:

Multi-talented filmmaker Fernando Meirelles is the force behind the critically acclaimed Brazilian film – City of God.  He will be awarded the Excellence in Cinema Award 2019 (International). There will be aMasterclass withMeirelles on filmmaking and his new film The Two Popes moderated by Festival Director and acclaimed Film Critic Anupama Chopra.

  • Excellence in Cinema Award 2019 (India) – Deepti Naval:

She made her debut with the movie Ek Baar Phir in the year 1979. Since then Deepti Naval has acted in more than 60 films. The actor, director, painter and photographer will be awarded the Excellence in Cinema Award 2019 (India). She is known for her substantial contribution to art and cinema, winning critical acclaim for her sensitive portrayal of characters that have emphasized the changing roles of women in India.

  • Spotlight:

A specially curated out-of-competition section, Spotlight, showcases new and exciting work from both critically acclaimed and breakthrough Indian filmmakers. The section focuses on films that push boundaries and are an example of narrative ambition. This year, the section features five world premieres.

  • Aunty Sudha Aunty Radha | Dir. Tanuja Chandra | Hindi | Asia Premiere
  • Cargo | Dir. Arati Kadav | Hindi | World Premiere
  • Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi | Dir. Seema Bhargava Pahwa | Hindi | World Premiere
  • Shut Up Sona | Dir. Deepti Gupta | English | World Premiere
  • The Churning of the Ocean (Samudra Manthan) | Dir. Kamal Swaroop | Hindi | World Premiere
  • The Wayfarers (Raahgir) | Dir. Goutam Ghose | Hindi | India Premiere
  • Oh That’s Bhanu | Dir. R.V Ramani | English, Malayalam, Hindi |World Premiere

❖     Dimensions Mumbai Jury:

The Dimensions Mumbai section showcases films by up-and-coming filmmakers under the age of 25. The lineup promises to offer stories that are sure to keep you at the edge of your seat. The Jury for the Dimensions Mumbai platform this season comprises a dynamic set of individuals from the filmmaking community – Actor Taapsee Pannu, Actor Avinash Tiwary, author and screenwriter Kanika Dhillon, screenwriter, director and producer Karan Anshuman and Film Editor Shweta Venkat Mathew.

  • International Competition Jury:

The prestigious International Competition section shines a spotlight on new cinematic voices. It is open to debut filmmakers from all over the world. The top of the line Jury for the section is headed by world renowned filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad. His co-jurors are Julie Huntsinger – Executive Director of Telluride Film Festival, Mark Adams – Artistic Director of Edinburgh International Film Festival, Filmmaker Vetri Maaran and Zoya Akhtar – Director & Screenwriter.

❖     India Gold Jury:

India Gold will showcase breakthrough contemporary Indian films produced in India. The jury comprises Franklin Leonard – Film Producer, Cultural Commentator, Professor & Entrepreneur, Col Needham – Founder & CEO of IMDb, Christian Jeune – Director of the Film Department and Deputy General Delegate of the Cannes Film Festival and Grainne Humphreys – Festival Director of Dublin International Film Festival. The 10 films that have been nominated are –

  • About Love | Dir. Archana Atul Phadke | India | 2019 | 90 min
  • Bitter Chestnut (Khanaur) | Dir. Gurvinder Singh | India | 2019 | 100 min
  • Bombay Rose | Dir. Gitanjali Rao | India, United Kingdom, France, Qatar | 2019 | 93 min
  • Eeb Allay Ooo! | Dir. Prateek Vats | India | 2019 | 98 min
  • Gamak Ghar | Dir. Achal Mishra | India | 91 min
  • Invitation (Nimtoh) | Dir. Saurav Rai | India | 2019 | 85 min
  • Just Like That (Aise Hi) | Dir. Kislay | India | 2019 | 109 min
  • Pearl of the Desert (Maru ro Moti) | Dir. Pushpendra Singh | India, South Korea | 2019 | 82 min
  • Aamis | Dir. Bhaskar Hazarika | India | 2019 | 108 min
  • That Cloud Never Left | Dir. Yashaswini Raghunandan | 2019 | 65 min
  • The Industry Program:

With its 21st edition, the festival introduces a new initiative called the ‘Industry Program’ – a set of highly curated one-on-one sessions that industry professionals will have with Indian and international experts from the world of film. The idea is to bring the industry closer, learn from one another and crush all boundaries.

  • Opening Film:

Filmmaker Geetu Mohandas’ much-awaited and acclaimed film Moothon is the Opening film of this edition. It is the first time in 21 years that a Malayalam language film will be opening the festival and it is the second time for the festival that a film directed by an Indian woman director has been chosen as the Opening Film. Geetu has mounted her film on a large and lavish canvas with a powerful cast headlined by the Malayalam industry dynamo Nivin Pauly.

Vishal Bhardwaj, Filmmaker and MAMI Board Member said, “Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star is a one of a kind film festival that creates a unique cinematic experience for movie lovers across the country. The lineup is so very diverse and vast. There is an interesting watch for every kind of film enthusiast. I am excited about everything that the festival has to offer this season.”

Zoya Akhtar, Filmmaker and MAMI Board Member said, “This is the most exciting time of the year for film lovers in the city. The festival is once again set out to put forth the best of world cinema and take the best of Indian cinema to the world. I am especially looking forward to being a part of the International Competition Jury. It’s an opportunity to engage with new and promising talent from across the world.”

Siddharth Roy Kapur, Founder and MD, Roy Kapur Films and MAMI Board Member said“The Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star is a platform that gives new talent the recognition they deserve and the opportunity to begin their journey in the Indian filmmaking industry. Year on year we see some of the biggest names in the ecosystem coming back to showcase their films at the festival – a place from where they once started out. It goes on to show just how much of a community and support the academy has created for new and seasoned creators.”

Mr. Ajay Bijli, Chairman and Managing Director, PVR Ltdsaid, “It gives me immense happiness to see the way Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, 21st edition has been curated. PVR has always envisioned to offer quality and varied content to the viewers. The diverse film line-up will offer exemplary exposure to the movie enthusiasts. There is a significant increase in demand for interesting and innovative storytelling across India and, the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star will aptly cater to the same. India has an enormous creative pool, and we endeavor to offer them a platform to showcase their talent. With every edition, we could see an increase in enthusiasm and quality amongst the content creators. Facilitating, encouraging and instilling the movie culture in India has been the foundation of PVR’s business outlook since inception.”

A Star India spokesperson said, “At Star, we have always believed that compelling stories can inspire a billion imaginations and influence a better tomorrow. MAMI is a great example of doing just that with its curation of world class cinema. We are happy to associate with MAMI for the sixth year in a row and look forward to celebrating the power of stories.”

Anupama Chopra, Festival Director, MAMI said, “It is extremely humbling to see the support that we receive each year from the filmmaking community and the delegates. This is a platform that makes way for diverse cinematic voices. With each edition we aim to bring the world closer together through cinema.”

Smriti Kiran, Artistic Director, MAMI said, “The industry programme for me is key to this festival. The knowledge sessions and close door masterclasses that are designed, I feel will over time help our industry blossom. I am also excited about the way we have chosen the jury. All solid and influential film professionals who will not only weigh in on the films but also have the power to champion and discover the unbridled talent we have in our country.”

Payal Nijhawan, Head of Marketing, William Grant & Sons, said, “William Grant & Sons is extremely excited to bring alive the playfulness of Monkey Shoulder, and a delightfully peculiar Gin experience with Hendrick’s, at the Jio MAMI 21st Mumbai Film Festival with Star. As with the very best in film making, these brands constantly disrupt convention, and re-write the rules of the category.”

Akriti Agarwal, C.E.O. Thirsty Beers and Thirsty City 127, said, “As a brand, Thirsty has always been an advocate for the arts in all forms. Possibly the most creative beer company, our crafted brews are themselves a work of art. . Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star is a melting pot of creative minds coming together each year to support the fine arts and this year, we at Thirsty couldn’t be happier to partner with a festival that shares our philosophy of prompting talent and endorsing creativity. It is with great pleasure we join hands with Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star to celebrate splendid cinema.”

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When Maera Mishra’s first negative character got her teary eyed on the sets of Guddan Tumse Na Ho Payega

Zee TV’s popular fiction show, Guddan Tumse Na Ho Payega, has been a favourite amongst TV viewers and the interesting story around Guddan (Kanika Mann) and Akshat’s (Nishant Singh Malkani) love life kept them intrigued and entertained for the past couple of years. It recently took a 20-year leap and showcased the tragic death of Akshat and Guddan and post the leap, the show now revolves around the ups and downs of their daughter, Choti Guddan’s life. Essayed by Kanika Mann herself, Choti Guddan finds her hero soon after the leap. Agatsya, the character played by Savy Thakur, is all set to give her all the happiness that she deserves. But standing in her way is Nia, who is Agastya’s soon going-to-be-wife.

Essayed by television actress Maera Mishra, Nia is a grey shaded character who although appears to be a kind and soft-hearted person to the world, is actually quite the opposite. The negative character is all set to turn Choti Guddan’s life upside down and while the actress (Maera) was beyond thrilled to portray her first ever negative character, it seems like the role’s requirements might have left her a bit overwhelmed. The actress who is anything but like her character, found it hard to emote the exact emotions and animosity that her character goes through. In fact, Maera got so affected that a particular sequence got the actress in tears.

Narrating her experience, Maera who plays the role of Nia in Guddan Tumse Na Ho Payega mentioned, “We shot for a particular scene where I am yelling and scolding a kid to eat her food. As unbelievable it might sound, but I actually began crying by the end of this scene because I am not really a person who raises my voice, and neither can I tolerate someone else doing it. We had to shoot a couple of retakes because I kept getting teary eyed. In fact, my Guddan Tumse Na Ho Payega director and the young girl that I was shooting with were trying their level best at not making me feel bad about the sequence.”

Adding further, Maera said, “This character being my first grey shade is pretty challenging for me and I am giving in my 100 per cent to do justice to the character. In fact my mom, who was earlier convincing me to play positive shades only, recently appreciated my performance in Guddan Tumse Na Ho Payega and that honestly has given me quite the boost to explore this side of myself.”

While our sweet Maera is busy planning and plotting tragedies as Nia in Choti Guddan’s life, she is unaware of the twists that are set to come in her own. As Nia and Agastya’s wedding kicks off in full swing, will the latter finally be able to express the feelings he has for Choti Guddan?

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Director Sneha Shetty Kohli’s next music video ‘Tanhaai’ starring Tulsi Kumar is a soulful rock ballad

Director Sneha Shetty Kohli’s fresh new music video ‘Tanhaai’ features Tulsi Kumar and Zain Imam. A tale about rising up and out of loneliness that we often find ourselves in.

The song is in power-packed vocals of the very versatile Tulsi Kumar and composed by talented music duo Sachet-Parampara.

Sharing about the shoot of the song, Director Sneha Shetty Kohli, adds “We shot the entire song across Mumbai in just 3 days and shooting in between the pandemic with all necessary precautions and rains was challenging yet an amazing experience”. Sharing about the theme of the song, she adds, “Break ups are a part of life and to accept it and come out stronger and not lose your identity in the whole process is what makes or breaks you”.

After the success of most popular music videos like ‘Genda Phool’ featuring Jacqueline Fernandez and Badshah, ‘Dil ko Karaar Aaya’ featuring Sidharth Shukla and Neha Sharma and the top hit ‘Naagin’. Director Sneha Shetty’s next ‘Tanhaai’ is all set to rule the worldwide charts.

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A trailblazer in educational innovation, Whistling Woods International hosts virtual masterclass with the team of ‘Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl’

Whistling Woods International (WWI) has always served as a beacon for India’s creative community, inspiring them to greater heights of achievement and success. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, WWI has once again led the way for India’s education sector by hosting an exclusive online masterclass session. This step provided the students of Asia’s premier Film, Communication, and Creative Arts institute with an uncompromised and unparalleled exposure to creative insights on filmmaking.

This unique online masterclass featured the cast and crew behind the acclaimed 2020 biopic Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl. Present for the session were the film’s director, Sharan Sharma; writer Nikhil Mehrotra; actress Janhvi Kapoor, who played the titular character; editor and WWI alumnus Nitin Baid; and director of photography, Manush Nandan. Hosting the session was Rahul Puri, Head of Academics at WWI, who led the highly informative and engrossing session. Following an initial round of introductions, the team took turns to describe their individual contributions to the film.

Rahul Puri subsequently began the session by posing a series of questions. When asked about the portrayal of patriotism and women in the armed forces, Sharan Sharma cited about the influence of the real Gunjan Saxena. He stated, “Many cues were taken from Gunjan ma’am and the way she is in real life. She showed us a different view of patriotism, stating that this was her duty towards the country.”

The film was highly praised for its portrayal of the father-daughter relationship, with Sharan Sharma noting that the actors drew their inspiration from the real Gunjan Saxena and her father, “Gunjan ma’am always looked up to her father. Similarly, Janhvi looked up to Pankaj Tripathi and had a lot of respect for him as an actor. Hence it was a natural progression.” Janhvi Kapoor shared this opinion, stating, “I have a lot of respect for Pankaj sir. I admire him and thus forming the bond came naturally to me. Scenes with him always felt nice and were very natural.” The conversation further progressed to the way in which the film was scripted, and that the story had a lot of clarity, while Sharan narrated the script to the team.

Manush Nandan went on to describe his role in shaping the helicopter scenes in the film, and the emphasis on realism. “Sharad had suggested certain details and insisted that nothing could look unreal. The first half was easy as it was  all about Gunjan ma’am growing up, but the chopper scenes in the second half weren’t something we had done before.”

As the session came to an end, Sharan Sharma praised WWI for constantly upholding the standards of education for the film industry, noting, “Hats off and congratulations to all of you at WWI. From my experience of being in film business, I have come across so many alumni who are technically skilled and extremely professional and industry-ready. In a way they have taken over the industry! We are very happy to have interacted with the students of WWI.” With the session concluded, Rahul Puri led a vote of thanks for the team.

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