Aishwarya Rai Bachchan to Give Mumbai Festival High Profile Launch

Superstar, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will officiate tomorrow at the start of the 16th Mumbai Film Festival (Oct. 14-21).

The opening ceremony is expected to count on a high-profile contingent of Bollywood stars Ranbir Kapoor, Akshay Kumar and Anushka Sharma.

That is a happy situation vastly different from six weeks ago, when, for lack of finance, festival organizers turned to social media and crowd sourcing. Led by TV film critic Anupama Chopra, they brought in donations from celebrity fans and non-institutional industry sources.

In recent days, corporate sponsors have also showed up. Box office measuring service, Rentrak, which is set to launch its India services later this year, plans to connect with the Indian film industry during the Mumbai festival. (India produces more than 1,000 films a year, but does not have a reliable or transparent system of reporting box office collections.)

HBO South Asia will present a master class with Catherine Deneuve, who will be in conversation with Chopra and top Bollywood star Deepika Padukone.  

Deneuve will also receive a lifetime achievement award at the festival along with Helen (aka Helen Jairag Richardson) an old time Indian actress of Burmese descent.
 
The festival opens on October 14 with Susanne Bier’s “Serena”, starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence and will close on October 21 with David Ayer’s “Fury”, starring Brad Pitt and Shia LeBeouf.

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