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Anurag Kashyap: Proud that ‘Mukkabaaz’ will open MAMI this year

Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap’s latest boxing-drama “Mukkabaaz” will be the opening movie at the Jio MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival and the director is elated as he feels the movie will get a great platform to be showcased.

The film chronicles the story of a boxer from Uttar Pradesh, who falls in love with a Brahmin girl. “Smriti Kiran (creative director MAMI) had heard about ‘Mukkabaaz’. She saw the film and two days later told me she wants the film for MAMI. I said I don’t qualify for India Gold or anything, where will you show it? Will you have a secret screening?

“Then they said they want to make it as an opening film… For me it’s a moment of pride. I was very happy because my films have never played at MAMI. To premiere at MAMI, I had to let go the Asian premiere at Busan. It’s a choice I made,” Kashyap told reporters here.

The festival, organized by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image in association with Star, is scheduled to be held from October 12-18. The opening ceremony will be held at the iconic Liberty cinema.

The “Raman Raghav 2.0” helmer says the best part about film festivals is that it gives boost to movies which really need attention.

“Festivals give visibility to films which at times they really need. ‘Haramkhor’ and ‘Peddlers’ got visibility through festivals… The divide of indie cinema vs commercial cinema is all over the world. A lot of Sundance festival films go straight to digital. All of them don’t get a release but they draw attention,” the director says.

“I’ve benefited a lot from them (film festivals). It really helps. Sometimes films struggle for a theatrical release in India because you are coming with a different mindset. But once at MAMI, the film gets so much traction that you come in the eyes of distributors and presenters,” Kashyap adds.

Kiran Rao, Chairperson, MAMI, says the upcoming 19th edition of the festival will showcase over 220 films from 49 countries in 51 languages.

In the competition section- India Gold, movies like “Ashwatthama”, “Juze”, “Machines”, “Ralang Road”, “Sexy Durga”, “Village Rockstars” among others will be screened.

In the International Competition section films like “Apostasy”, “Bad Lucky Goat”, “I am not a Witch”, “More (Daha)”, “Most Beautiful Island”, “Quest”, “Oh Lucy!” among others will be played.

In the ‘Out of Competition’ section, India Story, titles like “Ask The Sexpert” by director Vaishali Sinha, “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings”, “Bhasmasur”, “Nimmo” among others will be screened.

The World Cinema section will screen movies like “Loveless”, “Nothingwood”, “November” among others. John Madden, director of Oscar winning “Shakespeare in Love”, will head the international jury which includes actor-filmmaker Konkona Sen Sharma, Hong Kong-American actor Celina Jade, cinematographer Alexis Zabe and Argentine film director Santiago Mitre.

The much awaited MAMI event, ‘Movie Mela’ which features panel discussions, film reunion among other things will this time be held on October 7, days before the official opening of the festival.

About Kshitiz Kataria

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