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Logo of MAMI

28 OCT. --- 6 NOV. 2015

The entirely refurbished new face with rich sponsors and supporters this year ,Mami was rechristened as Jio Mami  Film Festival , started with a bang and curtains fell with a thud.

Typical  Aspects , High - Low

Festival Films were divided in the categories of  Competition Films ,World Cinema , India Gold, Dimensions Mumbai, The India Story, Rendezvous, Restored Classics , Tributes etc..That apart there was an events galore ,like Movie Mela,  Film market renamed as Mumbai Film Mart and a misnomer called Young Critics Lab, as if all regular film critics are as old as tattered clothes, (If they are just ambitious student critics, why not call them ‘Budding’?); usual Master Classes and moderated panel discussions , dose of little glamour , all in place.More than 150 films were screened

While Crowd Management  and  reservation system , got improved; ongoing discrimination to exclude the media critics and senior delegates from Inaugural , Closing and important/ Premiere screening events was noticed. The pre-announced screenings or events went hay wire in a few cases like inaugural film “Aligarh” and “Angry Indian Goddesses” ( to be followed by ‘Women in Films’  Panel discussion)these films were eventually screened as special premiers for invitees . Online reservation or movie management entrusted to the Book My Show was not up to the mark. Strangely even the Festival Catalogue, which is the only source to select a movie of choice was not ‘Indexed by name’ in categories or otherwise, which made difficult to locate the credits or synopses of a movie.

Awards Galore

The usual  “Excellence in Cinema Award”  was conferred on an International and Indian Film Personality . This year they were Amos Gitai and Salim- Javed -in International and Indian parts respectively.  Awards in International competition  were decided by the eminent jury  Chaired by Ava Duvernay, Cameron Bailey, Vidya Balan, Christina Voros and Saleh Bakri.

This year Three new category of awards were introduced by the sponsors  for a Film for Social Impact;  Drishyam Award ( For Investment upto Rs. 50 lakhs) for best India Gold Category film maker and a Award for Best Book on Excellence in Writing on Cinema .

Inaugural and Closing

Hon .Chief  Minister of Maharashtra Mihir Fadanvis  inagurated the fest with the Iconic Gateway of India as the backdrop , followed by the  documentary film

“A JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILE” made by Bangladesh film maker Geeta Ganhir. Announced inagural film “Aligarh” was skipped.

The  Closing film was “UN +UNE/ ONE PLUS ONE” made by French film maker Cluade Lelouch .Can not write anything on this as both events were only for exclusive invitees.

Panel Discussion on “Women In Film”

This was slated to be a thought provoking discussion, but it was not.  

It started 20 minutes behind schedule ,and as was announced the film could not succeed with ‘The Angry Indian Goddesses’ instead preceded by a short documentary on prevalent malnutrition and sudden deaths of new born babies for lack of hygiene and simple lessons to prevent casualties . Many audiences left early to catch the other pre-booked movies

In discussion, Senior actor - activist Shabana Azmi all though out maintained that if women in films are degraded as objects of male lust with increasing item numbers in films; the women themselves are responsible for exercising their right of Choice. She advised that professional fee charged by a woman actor should vary as per the type of film and set up. Kangan Ranaut and Vidya Balan agreed to this. Women centric films were  made even during forties but  by sixtees it became regressive to women. Now the movement evolved a lot and become bold, rebellious as per the changing societal values. Kiran Rao emphasized that if a subject is woman oriented, even a top actor should accept with less professional fee than what she charges for a main stream. Viday agreed to that and said she did the same when she accepted “Dirty Picture” and “Kahani”,But to make her body heavy and looking glamourous and semi nude was a bit  problematic for her although the character demanded that and she did justice to it culminating into nationwide appreciation and awards. Kangna maintained that to pursue her ambition to become a top actor , she did not care what the family or society said.

Award Wining Films / Film Makers

Sorry, This writer was not invited in the closing function where the award winners  were announced . Neither any mainstream paper published a list nor any press release was sent by the MAMI team. Hence unable to report

Good Films from among-st the Fest films which this reviewer saw or picked


This International Competition film depicts the lives of nomads in High Remote

Mountains in Kyrgyzstan. Family of of an elder couple, widow daughter in law Shaiyr and her 7 yr. Old daughter. They are herdsmen and breed horses. Shaiyr’s husband was drowned in a mountain river and her elder son is studying in the City and visits them only  during summer holidays. There is a Metereologist  whose whether Station is located near Shaiyr’s home and both have a lining for each other .

On the eve of his departure due to transfer to other place , he expresses his love to Shaiyr and proposes to marry her. She declines. She has been in tremendous love with her family, beautiful scenery of he mountain gorge. Cinematography was brilliant.

Director Mirlan Abykalykov and Story-Script Writer Aktar Arym Kubat have done a marvellous job in keeping the audience glued to the family chores , human emotions and breath taking nature’s beauty.. This was also a competition film in Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

VOLCANO ( France)

This was another touching and realistic movie in the International Competition

Which have won high acclaim and numerous awards in  various International Festivals .17 year old Maria lives and works with her parents on a Coffee Plantatio on the foothills of an Volcano in Gautemala.Although an arranged marriage awaits her, she is dreaming of a life in a big city.Identifying Pepe, a young Coffee cutterwho wants to migrate to USA, she seduces him only to be abandoned, making her pregnant, alone and isolated. However, a snake bite forces her to go to a modern City Hospital , where her life is saved but she had to pay a heavy price for it. Her baby  in the womb was declared  born but mutilated . The Coffin was buried. But Maria , after a great struggle manages to dig the grave, open the Coffin but finds it empty. She understood the game played by her family and the arranged groom.

Narrative treated by the director - writer Jayro Bustamanted touches your heart aided and abetted by the superb portrayal of Maria by Maria Merecedes Croy.


This gripping film was in India Gold cagtegory directed by Vetri Maaran.

This is a mirror of prevailing police brutality in the name of interrogation.

Four immigrant boys ( Tamilians working in Andhra Pradesh) are detained under suspicion and forced to confess a crime they know nothing of.Unable to withstand the police atrocities, 3 of them succumbs and are taken to the court. Fourth boy Pandi, gathers courage to shout in despair before the magistrate to hear the truth. When all hopes are lost, a policeman from their home town speaks in their favor and the are set free. Now the policeman wants a work to be done by them to return his favors.

Boys oblige him. But in process they unwittingly witness an act of political treason. They are caught in a web of lies , deceit, betrayal and death. System is so entangled in a steel frame that the boys can not break. Ultimately truth prevails and the system gets exposed by the sheer firm stand of Pandi not to succumb to the brutal pressures. Film is based on a real incident but the  tout screenplay written by Maaran in association with M Chandrakumar , makes the events with dramatic impact and effective communication.

Chauthi Koot ( India --Punjabi )

Part of India Gold, this Internationally acclaimed movie evokes an atmosphere of suspicion , fear and paranoia of the 1980’s Punjab when it was passing thru’ a terrorism phase.This has been painstakingly depicted thru’ two incidents where a farmer is asked to kill his family dog and another when two Hindu friends try to reach to Amritsar. After a lot of trials and tribulations while unfolding stories, what binds the two was the essence of that phase in Punjab, which was trapped between the military excesses on one side and the militant movement for a separate Sikh nation on the other.

Written ,scripted and flawlessly directed by Gurvinder singh, embellished with sterling performances by Suvinder Vikky and Rajbir Kaur. Film was official entry at Cannes  2015 in “Uncertain Regard”section.It also won Paris project award.

The Lobster ( Canada)

This movie was a part of World Cinema. Movie impressed the audience with an unconventional love story with futuristic blend. In a future City, there was a rule that all singles will get arrested and transferred to The Hotel. There they must find a mate in next 45 days, failing which they are transformed in to an animal of their choice and then released into The woods. Once a desperate man escapes from The Hotel to The Woods, which is a home to the loners. There he falls in love with the loner woman . Since it is against the rules, what follows is an interesting account of twists and turns in the story and how the lovers become triumphant.

Scripted and directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, who kept up the tempo till the end.

This film had won Jury Prize in the 2015 Cannes Fest and was a special presentation in Toronto International Fest.


Another good film of the World Cinema section . In Ninth Century China, 10 year old girl Nie Yinniang was abducted by a Nun who initiates her into the Martial arts transforming her into an exceptional assassin charged with eliminating cruel and corrupt local Governors. In one assignment, she fails and then sent back to her mistress , with an order to kill the man, a  lover cousin who now leads the largest military Region. After 13 years of exile, the young woman happens to confront her parents and overwhelmed by memories and long repressed feelings . Nie Yinniang, must make a choice  either sacrifice the man she loves,or break forever with the sacred way of assassins.

Director -Writer Hou Hsiao-Hsien did a superb job in weaving crime suspense and sensitive feeling  without losing grip over the plot. For this, he was awarded the Best Director Award in Cannes 2015  , where the film was also one of the nominees for the top honour Palme d’Or.


The Iranian acclaimed film maker ( Now facing a 20 year ban for making films in Iran), Jafar Panahi , show cased his latest film “Taxi” in World Cinema section. A yellow taxi with a camera placed on its dash board , is turned into a mobile studio capturing diverse portraits of Iranian Society as it makes its way along the vibrant and colorful streets of Tehran. While the director -writer Panahi himself is in the driver’s seat, a whole range of passengers ride in the back ,each one candidly expressing his/her opinion to the driver. The views encompassed issues of death penalty,Poverty, Superstition,Gender biased education, imprisonment of the British-Iranian woman who was trying to attend a Men’s Volleyball match, etc. On the way Panahi also picks up young niece Hana who is assigned to make a lovie by her teacher avoiding ‘Sordid Realism’ of Iran. But Panahi showed the same sordid realism of Iran;s Cultural Intolerance in this movie.

No doubt , with this film Panahi deserved  the two prestigious awards at 65 th Berlin International Film Festival’s top award “Golden Bear” and the FIPRESCI Prize too.

THE TRAP (  India -Malayalam)

In India story section, ace Malayali film maker Jayaraj was back with his

National Award Winning film of 2014 , for Environmental Conservation /Preservation and best adapted Screenplay of  Joshy Mangalath from a short story of Anton Chekhov.

Story is a touching subject of a child’s innocence being trapped by the villainous

System. The story is of a young boy named Kuttappayi and his inseparable bond  with nature and his grandfather who now looks after him after his parents died . The story unfolds in a flash back when Kuttappayi writes a letter to his grandfather from the dark hole where he and other children are kept as Child Labours . Audiences are taken to a vibrant , picturesque hinterland of Kerala. K and his Grandpa arrive with ducks all set to start their lives afresh. To give them company is the village postman,a d dog, and a rich lad from the neighborhood. Soon, the Granfathr suffers from Tuberculosis , he may soon die due to this sickness and poverty.To save the child form further deprivation when he has gone, he takes help of a young man form village who promise to keep the child in a good orphanage where he will be cared for. Instead, eh villager sells him to a gang of criminals who exploit the young children with forced labour and living conditions in a dungeon.

In his characteristic style , master of pathos film maker Jayaraj adds required pithiness to make our eyes wet.

NO WOMAN’S LAND ( India-- Bengali-Hindi)

This India story section film communicates an untold story of Bengal partition. The  half of the film is based on  a story of S H Manto. In July 1947 Sir Cyril Radcliffe was assigned the unenviable task of drawing up a boundary dividing Bengal in East and West parts for Muslims and Hindus respectively. In absence of any topographical or demo graphical research of area or the census , the boundary went thru’ villages,and even homes. ‘RajKahini’ ( No Woman’s Land) is the story of a whorehouse that falls on the border dividing Bengal. Head and owner of this whorehouse is one Begum Jaan, along with inhabitants of this house resist the attempts of both the newly formed Governments of India and Pakistan to raise down the house and build a barbed wire border. It is the story of common people who are often marginalized by the grand narratives of Politics and history and who mus inevitably bear the brunt of their tragedy.

Written- scripted and directed by the well known English theater cum movie maker Srijit Mukherji  with a magically woven fast paced events, it keeps us glued to the seat ,especially in the first half  prelude to the actual partition. Actor Rituparna Sengupta as the aging  beauty Begum Jaan has given a natural , brilliant performance deserving an award.


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