As darkness crept in and the light came alive, the Gateway of India in Mumbai sprung to action as it was to witness one of the grandest opening nights of the 17th MAMI Film Festival. It was unlike any other year because this time the event was organized by none other than Aamir Khan’s wife Kiran Rai and Nita Ambani.
The red carpet was graced upon by many of the top Bollywood celebrities like Hrithik Roshan, Katrina Kaif, Kangana Ranaut and A R Rahman among many others. There were also popular favorites like Siddharth Malhotra and Shraddha Kapoor present for the event.
Kalki Koechlin was the host of the show who put up a very entertaining show to keep the audiences excited at all times and the show went on without a single dull moment, thanks to her witty comments and acts. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnvis was the chief guests for the show who gave his kudos to the organizers of the show for pooling in the resources and making it a grand success. He even assured the government’s support for such an endeavor by saying, “We want to make Mumbai an entertainment hub. We would create state of art facility which would be at par with world cinema. We also want world cinema to come here. Film industry provides employment to four million people and can be the biggest hub of films in the world. I assure you every year, I will try to make the film festival bigger and better and the government will lend its complete support.”
The Dimensions Mumbai jury is headed by Dibakar Banerjee and will be joined by Juhi Chaturvedi, Radhika Apte, Parneeti Chopra and Suraj Sharma. The jury for Young Critics is being headed by Peter Bradshaw and Meenakshi Shede.
One of the top highlights of the MAMI was when the great Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai was honored by our own Shyam Benegal for Excellence in Cinema in the international category. Amos Gitai said, “I am moved by the award. This is my first time here and I loved coming here. India has always been a land of great inspirational thinkers like Satyajit Ray.” He also commented, “Filmmakers should be given liberty to speak their mind. He should have the freedom to engage in cultural engagement which in reality is not a flower on cake. Everybody should have a voice and this voice should be maintained.”
The Indian excellence in cinema award was given to the Salim-Javed duo and was presented by Rajkumar Hirani.
The vote of thanks was delivered by Kiran Rao who declared the festival open. The ceremony ended with a vote of thanks by Kiran Rao who then declared the festival open.