At the JIO-MAMI film festival 2017

Fair before the festival

The third edition of movie mela sounded the bugle for the upcoming Jio MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival with Star with a large dollop of Bollywood

As clear skies turned grey -- eventually leading to the unexpected and unwanted downpour -- the Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image (MAMI) held the third editon of the Jio Movie Mela, in the run-up to the film festival, which flags off on Thursday. While the Jio MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival with Star’s programming this year is a melting pot of eclectic and diverse titles from all over the world, the mela was unabashedly Bollywood.

Panel discussions started with a round-table featuring the cast of Golmaal and ended with a Koffee with Karan-like tête-à-tête with Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor, conducted by Karan Johar himself. Photo booths were modelled after the Marvel Universe’s franchise, the fort from Dil Chahta Hai (2001) and even the Baahubali films. In the food court, a Chulbul Pandey lookalike (Dabangg, 2010) sauntered around, readily available for a photo-op. Nothing about the mela screamed independent or world cinema, perhaps a conscious antidote to the intellectual, highbrow perception of a film festival. The topics of discussion were light, accessible and casual, in tandem with the atmosphere at a fair. Until last year, the mela took place during the festival cannibalising into the cinema-going audience. This year, the event was pulled out to take place five days before proceedings, letting the seven-day long event be all about binging on the movies.

Vidya inspired

Actor Vidya Balan discussed five characters from Hindi cinema that struck a chord with her as both a viewer and, quite evidently, as a performer.

The eponymous protagonist of Anand (1971): The actor described how she found Rajesh Khanna endearing.

Jai in Sholay (1975): “Comedy was always over the top,” explains Balan, “and [possibly] for the first time you saw a dry sense of humour in a leading man.”

Pooja in Arth (1982): The actor was amazed by Shabana Azmi’s subtle portrayal of the character . Balan admits that the performance had a deep impact on her as an actor.

Seema in Mr. India (1987): Balan admired Sridevi for pulling off a wide range of avatars from the erotic ‘Kate Nahin Kat Te’ song to the iconic Charlie Chaplin impersonation. “If there ever was an encyclopaedia on acting, it would be called Sridevi,” declares Balan.

Sunil in Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1994): Balan was floored by Shah Rukh Khan’s earnestness as Sunil, who was caught in the classic case of unrequited love.

Filmmakers in their habitat

Directors Kabir Khan, Ayan Mukerji, Nitesh Tewari, Alankrita Srivastava and Anurag Kashyap gave a glimpse of what they are like on the sets of a film.

Biggest learning from your first film:

Kabir Khan: Don’t provoke the Taliban! And don’t assume everyone on the set is as passionate about the film as you.

Alankrita Srivastava: I didn’t realise how much a film is made in an edit room after it is shot, and to work harder on the edit.

Nitesh Tewari: Assumption is the first mistake you can make with your actors. In my case, while making Chillar Party (2011) I assumed that kids could cycle, but they couldn’t.

Ayan Mukerji: I am bad with female fashion and I made some monumental errors of judgement with Konkana’s [Sen Sharma] clothes. It’s okay not to know it all.

Anurag Kashyap: Not to expect too much of anything, and not to wait or expect your film to release.

From star kids to actors

Karan Johar grilled Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor over a range of topics: from nepotism, daunting fathers, social media presence, critical acclaim, dodging paparazzi and grappling with failure.

On nepotism:

Ranbir Kapoor: I am a product of nepotism. I don’t shy away from it. I know I have had opportunities many don’t get but I am using them to better my craft. Like my father said, “Politicians and actors in this country are chosen by the public”.

Alia Bhatt: My family has made it way easier for me to enter the industry. Nepotism exists, yes. But I also know that I work very hard to be where I am today, and I don’t need to feel apologetic about being my father’s daughter.

On critical acclaim:

RK: We are all critics and very few are artistes. Honestly, it’s much harder to be a star, than to be an actor.

AB: There are some films I do for myself, like Udta Punjab (2016), and some for the people, like Badrinath Ki Dulhania (2017). You need to strike that balance between good work and reaching out to a larger audience.

Picking the best

Music directors Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani reminisce about their favourite compositions

‘Tu Aashiqui Hai’: The romantic hymn was a hit, and the musicians reminisced about jamming in their early days at Worli’s Marble Arts Studio, while composing music for Sujoy Ghosh’s musical comedy, Jhankaar Beats (2003).

‘Allah Ke Bande’: A chart-topper from Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II (2003), Dadlani said that they are still humbled when people across the world share stories of how they were touched by the song during difficult times.

‘Ajab Si’: Lyrics of this hit from Farah Khan’s Om Shanti Om (2007) were penned by Dadlani but were initially meant to be dummy lyrics. The duo even described how Khan rearranged the track to suit the scene.

‘Chammak Challo’: The album of Anubhav Sinha’s superhero film, Ra.One (2011) grew immensely popular, and the duo shared the credit with international rapper Akon, who collaborated with the two. With an extra day at hand, they completed the song in less than a day – from inception to the final mix.

‘Nashe Si Chadh Gayi’: Vishal-Shekhar admitted that the lyrics and the tune of the chorus were courtesy Aditya Chopra, who directed and produced Befikre (2016).

‘Sheila Ki Jawani’: The two joked about how Dadlani was recognised as the song’s composer and blamed for validating sleaziness.

Making of a franchise

With Golmaal Again – the franchise’s fourth instalment – releasing soon, director Rohit Shetty, and the film’s cast took a trip down memory lane and revisited some of the previous films’ iconic moments. The addition to the cast, actor Parineeti Chopra, says she was initially starstruck, since she has been a fan of the franchise herself. Despite their established bond, Chopra felt feel more than welcome.

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 4:32:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/fair-before-the-festival/article19829885.ece

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