Mumbai Festival Reveals Weighty International, Indian Selections

The Fourth Direction Cannes Film Festival
Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

“Songs My Brothers Taught Me,” “Sworn Virgin” and “Mina Walking” are among the titles announced Wednesday as joining the international competition section of the upcoming Mumbai Film Festival.

“Umrika,” “The Fourth Direction” and “Song of the Horned Owl” join the festival’s India Gold competitive section for locally-made titles.

As previously announced, the festival will open with Hansal Mehta’s “Aligarh” and run Oct. 29 – Nov. 5.

The festival, now in its 17th edition, has this year been bolstered by a crowd of heavyweight Bollywood personalities and the sponsorship commitment of Reliance Jio, part of Mukesh Ambani’s corporate giant Reliance Industries. That followed a cash crunch last year that necessitated a partially crowd-funded scramble for funding only weeks before curtain up.

The event is now headed by former Variety writer Anupama Chopra as festival director, Nita Ambani as co-chair and director and activist Kiran Rao as chairperson. Other trustees include filmmakers Vikramaditya Motwane, Dibakar Banerjee, Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Vishal Bhardwaj, industrialists Anand Mahindra and Ajay Bijli, executive Siddharth Roy Kapur and actors Farhan Akhtar, Deepika Padukone and Riteish Deshmukh.

Aside from the competitions, the festival boasts major programming strands, Discovering India (Indian documentaries), India Story, and World Cinema.

The latter, a festival-of-festivals section bringing an international selection of art-house films to a Mumbai public includes: Hou Hsiao Hsien’s “The Assassin,” Jia Zhangke’s “Mountains May Depart,” (and the Walter Salles documentary about Jia “A Guy From Fenyang”,) “He Named Me Malala,” Miguel Gomes’ “Arabian Nights” trilogy, Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Lobster,” Hany Abu-Assad’s “The Idol,” Hong Sang Soo’s “Right Now, Wrong Then,” Jafar Panahi’s “Taxi” and Terence Davies’ “Sunset Song.” There is also house room for Chinese box office record breaker “Monster Hunt,” by Raman Hui.

The After Dark section takes in shocker “American Burger,” and Sion Sono’s “Tag.” The Rendezvous section takes in Yann Arthus Bertrand’s documentary “Human” and India-themed Cannes winner “Dheepan.”

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