There are many reasons to go to MAMI film fest, and I consider the off-screen encounters with film crazy people as one of the biggest reasons to celebrate cinema.
‘Jab Balraj Sahni kuch bolta hai, to Nirupa Roy kya sharmaati hai.
ji, I can guarantee you no woman today, not even my wife, can produce that expression!’ claimed one elderly gent who has been watching cinema for as long as he can remember. Not just Do Bigha Zameen, he was all praises for Nutan shivering in the glass when ice cubes are dropped from the film Tere Ghar Ke Saamne. ‘Un dino there were no computer to give effects, sab camera mein magic kiya.’ he was happy to explain.
Then there is a bunch of students (from graphic design to cinema) who understood why I would choose to sit up front in the cinema. They too understood the value of watching cinema in awe rather than as a break between checking messages on the phone. One of them even emailed me their short film.
Friends who braved the Andheri crowds were disappointed to hear free exchange of vituperative in unruly queues, and I am happy to report, that the people and staff (security as well as BookMyShow staff) at Regal were exemplary. Even simple advice like, ‘You should cancel
Grass because there are many walk-in seats available, book Climax instead. You want me to do that for you?’ That was wonderful and welcome.
Tuesday has only three films at Regal. And I’m booked to watch them all. There are so many watering holes nearby (after watching the French film
Climax, maybe I will skip Sangria) and food places that offer everything from Kombucha to tapri wali chai to lean chicken to deep fried fish fingers, and the eternal favourite: vada pav.
The discovery of a thing called bread
pakoda (looks ghastly but is a delicious deep-fried triangle of white bread and potato bhaji sandwich, usually chopped up with a rusty knife into bite sized portions then slathered with coriander chutney) last year at MAMI meant I introduced the pleasures of its taste to people in the queue this year.
Gus Van Sant has made many a strange film, and his best to worst are listed on the net. But you know you have seen his best when you have seen his
Drugstore Cowboy, Good Will Hunting and Portlandia (TV show). This biopic ‘ Don’t Worry, He Won’t Go Far On Foot’ seems like a demented film with a stellar star cast.
Originally Robin Williams wanted the director to make the film. The actors together is perhaps the biggest reason why I chose to book the film: Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Jack Black and Rooney Mara. Now, this a biopic of John Callahan who is a Portlander (I love the city, it’s everything Oregon has to offer, great weather, the Willamette river, great food and my house on stilts on the side of Pill Hill was really home). Watch the trailer to see and ask yourself, would you dare to laugh if someone was speeding on a wheelchair and fell flat on their face?
VIDEO Rafiki is a Kenyan film. It examines relationships between people, and comments on rules society has set for people. Who is a good girl? Rafiki means ‘friend’ and it’s great to see filmmakers the world over, whether it is Boy Erased or Rafiki are sharing ideas about how to be a little more sensitive to the changing landscape of sexuality. Plus it makes us examine about our dreams and decisions we once had: Are we ever going to think that we do not want to become like other people down there? VIDEO
When the writer of Martin Scorsese's
Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Passion Of Christ, and has written and directed films like American Gigolo makes a film about a priest who keeps a diary and begins to questions his faith, your interest is perked. The trailer made me book the film. VIDEO
And ahem, Ethan Hawke. His inner battle reminds me of my everyday battle with rituals vs spirituality that my religion offers. You will agree that everyday ordinary things test your faith every day. Maybe our tests are small: car trouble when one is going to a meeting, or people texting you after you have waited for twenty minutes, a careless, ‘Sorry, running late!’
Cinema gives star-crossed lovers solace in suicide, avenges cruel kings, gets dancers high on something more than dance, helps a writer find inspiration at a coffee shop, helps the audience ever find empathy for demented serial killers. Real life in comparison is dull and dreadful. The week of finding comfort in the darkness of theatre is almost over. This is manna from heaven. Grateful.
Manisha Lakhe is a poet, film critic, traveller, founder of Caferati — an online writer’s forum, hosts Mumbai’s oldest open mic, and teaches advertising, films and communication. Disclosure: Jio MAMI 20th Mumbai Film Festival With Star is sponsored by Reliance Jio, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries that controls Network18, the parent company of CNBCTV18.com.