Mumbai’s most awaited festival organized by Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) finally kickstarted on 17th October with a grand opening ceremony. The 15th Mumbai Film Festival 2013 was declared open by the honourable CM Prithviraj Chavan. The director of the festival Mr. Srinivasan Narayanan said, “The Mumbai Film Festival has become an integral part of this city’s culture. For these 8 days, the city breathes cinema. We are pleased that such distinguished personalities have accepted our invitation to partake in the 15th edition and join in celebrating the best of world Cinema.”
Chairman of MAMI Mr. Shyam Benegal was joined by MAMI trustees, Mr. Amit Khanna, and Mr. Ramesh Sippy. The guest of honour was actor Sonakshi Sinha and they lit the lamp, commencing the festival on an auspicious note. The impressive guest list continued to be unveiled as the esteemed Jury members of the four competition categories: International Competition, Dimensions Mumbai, Harmony Celebrate Age and India Gold 2013 were introduced. Present at the event were jury members Bruce Beresford, Siddiq Barmark, Deepa Mehta, Waris Hussein, Roger Garcia, Asghar Farhadi, Konkona Sen Sharma amongst others.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to French auteur Costas Gavras by Mr. Benegal and national award winning actor/director Kamal Haasan by the honourable Chief Minister of Maharashtra Mr. Prithviraj Chavan. Costa Gravas wished the film festival luck, and Kamal Haasan thanked the festival for promoting talent.
Costa Gavras was eloquent as he praised the Film Fest, “I’m happy to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mumbai Film Festival. It is wonderful to see Indian cinema has a large local audience watching the films. I wish the Film Festival the best of luck and hope there are people who attend the various events.”
Kamal Haasan in his soft spoken manner addressed the audience, “There never was a method to my acting. I simply had great teachers, some of whom are present here tonight. I respect them a lot. Festivals have also taught me a lot and I am humbled to have received this honour. I thank the Mumbai Film Festival for promoting talent such as myself.”
The opening film for the festival was The Butler, directed by Lee Daniels, starring Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey and John Cusack. The film captivated everyone in the audience. The other celebrities spotted at the event were Tisca Chopra, Divya Dutta, Konkona Sen Sharma, Divya Dutta, Ramesh Sippy, Vikramaditya Motwane, Nandita Das and many more.
The opening of the festival has made the delight of the coming week something to look forward to. With over 200 films from 65 countries, including special tributes to Yash Chopra, Rituparno Ghosh, Pran; master-classes by industry veterans in the coming days, the 15th Mumbai Film Festival promises to be a grand event for all cinema lovers.
Here is the ceremony in pictures!