Sunday, October 19, 2014

A warm welcome for Amar, Akbar and Tony

UK-based Atul Malhotra’s debut feature film Amar, Akbar & Tony, the closing film showcased under the Film India Worldwide section at the 16th Mumbai Film Festival, met with a packed house and a highly positive response. Interestingly, this screening marked the film’s World Premiere.

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Rez Kempton and Atul Malhotra

With a sly take-off from the 1977 Bollywood lost-and-found comedy, Amar, Akbar, Anthony, this film is a 10-year journey of three childhood friends -- Amar, Akbar and Tony – looking for love and dealing with absurdities of life. Laced with humour (one of the lines go ‘We shifted from Punjab in India to Southall, Punjab in London’) and Bollywood hits of the 80s, the film takes a harsh turn when one of its leads is arrested for murder and also touches upon rigid social taboos that Asian communities in the UK live by.

Present at the screening were Malhotra and the film’s lead actor, Rez Kempton, who has worked in several UK-based TV series and films. Said Malhotra, “While many might make fun of Bollywood, I love watching Hindi movies and as a result, decided to use a title that is a take-off on the hit Bollywood film.” Apart from the director and actor’s friends, also present at the screening were Pitobash, who was cast in the international venture Million Dollar Arm that released earlier this year and British music composer Andrew MacKay.

- Krutika Behrawala (Contributing Writer for FIW)

MAMI Diaries: Day 4

With every passing day, the cinema-hungry audiences at the 16th Mumbai Film Festival only keep increasing and the varied line-up of films ensures that every taste is catered to. From Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, that could well be the first Iranian western featuring a female vampire to Lech Majewski’s Polish love story Field of Dogs to Chinese master Zhang Yimou’s war drama Coming Home to Matthew Warchus’ real life inspired British drama Pride to Lars von Trier’s much-hyped sex addiction drama Nymphomaniac Volume 1, there was lots to catch up on the weekend for cinegoers.

clip_image002The film that drew in maximum crowds was undoubtedly Party Girl. Helmed by directed by Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis, the French drama, that won Camera d’Or at 2014 Cannes Film Festival, is a story of a bar hostess nearing sixties, who sets out to address her fear of ageing. With her realistic performance, Angélique Litzenburger, who plays the protagonist, ensured that the audience was a part of her party too.

Also witnessing a packed house was Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s social drama Two Days, One Night. A woman’s struggle of asking her colleagues to vote for her to stay on over their bonus, when she is laid off the job, this Marion Cotillard starrer received thumbs up for its sensitive and simplistic narrative as well as the lead’s stellar performance.

On the sidelines was a presentation by Anurag Kashyap on his 2004 release Black Friday, a gritty and dark portrayal of the investigations in the aftermath of the 1993 Bombay bomb blasts. A session on music in film, attended by many budding composers and filmmakers, saw Frenchman Laurent Koppitz from FAMES Project Macedonia in conversation with the British composer Andrew McKay, providing insights into the realities and costs involved in music compositions for films.

- Krutika Behrawala (Contributing writer for FIW)

Friday, October 17, 2014

MAMI Diaries: Day 2

 

A day of classics and contemporaries

clip_image002On the second day of the 16th Mumbai Film Festival, the audiences revisited some of the classics in world cinema and at the same time, got a taste of the latest fare from across the globe. As a toast to the French actress, Catherine Denevue, the festival screened her 1966 classic rom-com A Matter of Resistance and later in the evening, her most recent Dans La Cour (In The Courtyard), both drawing maximum crowds.

Celebrating Arab Cinema was Saleh Abu Seif’s 1960 black and white social drama The Beginning & The End, while Frank Capra’s 1934 classic It Happened One Night opened the Restored Classics section at the fest and Grigoriy Chukhray’s Ballad of a Soldier, the 1959 black and white Russian classic marked the Celebration of 90 Years of MOSFILM Studio. Closer home, Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen, too, received the fest’s salute as Dibakar Banerjee and Tigmanshu Dhulia, who worked as the casting director for the film, presented this cult classic.

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Dibakar Banerjee and Tigmanshu Dhulia

Meanwhile, the contemporary fare included Reese Witherspoon starrer The Good Lie, a story of hope, honour and humanity, about Sudanese refugees (representing the ‘lost boys’ of Sudan) who win a lottery to come to the USA and settle for a better life. Witherspoon’s restrained performance along with a smooth narrative laced with humour capturing the culture shock faced by the refugees, made this film worth a watch. The debut works showcased on the second day included Safi Yazdanian’s Iranian film What’s The Time In Your World? and Sofia Norlin’s Broken Hill Blues, a teen-centric drama offering a peek into modern day Swedish Cinema.

- Krutika Behrawala
(Contributing Writer for FIW)

HoneyComb Lodge