Waheeda Rehman, Prachi Desai, Kajal Agarwal at the MAMI closing night
Every year, the Mumbai Film Festival, organized by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image and presented by Reliance Entertainment and American Express gives the Indian cinema loving audience a plethora of cinematic treats to dive their teeth into. This year too, was no different with showcases on French, Italian and Afghan cinema, along with a special classics section for the nostalgia addicts. A catalogue of 230 films went with the week-long variety programme which included seminars, workshops, discussions and the much revered red carpet. And while it all culminated into a big finale event on the 25th, it sure went out with a promise for even bigger and better next year.
On the final night, the National Centre for Performing Arts welcomed the luminaries and visionaries of cinematic brilliance, past and present to cherish and to bestow honours. Renowned actress Waheeda Rehman was conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award for an Indian Personality. The actress known for her performances in Teesri Kasam, Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam, Pyaasa, Khamoshi and who was last seen on screen in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Delhi-6, expressed her gratitude and her luck for being awarded in the prestigious centenary year.
"I'm thrilled to receive this award from MAMI, a body of the industry at an international film hosted in my city Mumbai and that too during the course of the centenary year of Indian cinema", said the acclaimed actor , "I dedicate this award to the directors, producers, co-actors, technicians who've been a part of this journey with me."
The extravaganza was also host to many other awardees and great films. Spanish-US co-production Aqui Y Alla was deemed the Best Film and received the Golden Gateway of India along with a cash prize of US$ 100,000 and director Antonio Mendez took the Silver Gateway Award for Best Director. Beast of The Southern Wild, a low-budget American film which has already garnered much acclaim in film festivals across the world including Festival de Cannes and Sundance was given the Silver Gateway for Best Film with US$50,000 as prize money and was also awarded the Silver Gateway for Best Actor for Dwight Henry, as well as being touted as the Best Film by Mumbai Young Critics. Julia Garner was awarded the Best Actress Award for Electrick Children. A Special Jury Award was bestowed upon Musa Sayeed for Valley of Saints and Pankaj Kumar was awarded the Award for Technical Excellence for his beautiful frames and enthralling cinematography in Ship of Theseus. The Hunt was selected as a favourite amongst audiences with a Silver Gateway and US$ 20,000.
In the ‘Celebrate Age’ category dedicated to cinema in senescence, Croatian drama Nocni brodovi by Igor Mirkovic was announced the Best Film, and the runner-up was La Demora by Rodrigo Pla from Uruguay. Sports film Ping Pong was given a special mention.
A special category newly devised for Indian cinema, ‘India Gold’ gave Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely the award for Best Film with a Golden Gateway and Rs. 10 lakh, as well as the Reliance Media Works CreaTech Award for Rs. 1 lakh. Shahid was touted next, a Silver Gateway and a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh. A Special Jury award was conferred on Manjeet Singh for Mumbai Cha Raja.
Dimensions Mumbai was a short film segment, originally a competition, showcasing films by Mumbai filmmakers younger than 25. The theme was to showcase aspects of life. Local by Bharat Singh Pawar was awarded Best Film. Coming in second was Aakhon Dekha Haal by Sudhanshu Prakash Sawant. Special Mention by the Jury was given to Bombay Kulfi by Vaibhav Hiwase and Karwaa by Errol Peter Marks and Aaditya Sawant.
The star-studded award ceremony preceded by the India premiere of Spanish film Blancanieves saw many noted cinematic dignitaries from all over the world. Many Indian film persolaities also graced the occasion. Seen on the red carpet were Rahul Bose, filmmaker and Chairperson Shyam Benegal, filmmaker and Trustee Ramesh Sippy with wife Kiran Juneja, actresses Prachi Desai and Kajal Aggarwal and filmmaker Abhinav Kashyap
As MAMI observed a minutes’ silence in the memory of trustee and filmmaker Yash Chopra, the action packed week came to an end with the hope of a greater year in film to come.