Bollywood Big Names Bolster Mumbai Festival Opening

MUMBAI – The cream of Bollywood was out in force at the opening of the 18th Mumbai Film Festival on Thursday. Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan inaugurated proceedings and called for a permanent hub for the festival that is currently spread out at venues across the city. The opening was at the newly restored 104-year-old Royal Opera House that had fallen into disrepair decades ago.

The festival opened under the shadow of the current tense political relationship between India and Pakistan, resulting in the pulling of 1959 Pakistani classic “The Day Shall Dawn” (“Jago Hua Savera”) from the program. Acknowledging this, festival director Anupama Chopra spoke of living in an atmosphere that is “fractured and confused”. “I won’t lie. It has been difficult,” Chopra said during her opening remarks.

But as is often the case in Mumbai, Bollywood rode to the rescue, papering over the fractures. Veteran actress Jaya Bachchan presented the Indian “Excellence in Cinema” award to director Sai Paranjpye, known for classics like “Sparsh” and “Chashme Buddoor.”

Bollywood superstar, Aamir Khan presented the international “Excellence in Cinema” award to Chinese auteur Jia Zhangke. “There are a lot of disparities in our societies and these can be solved by the movies,” Jia said during his acceptance speech.

Bollywood stars like Abhay Deol, Richa Chaddha, Kunal Kapoor and Huma Qureshi are serving on festival juries. International jurors include Yonfan, Reha Erdem, Stephanie Zachrek, Tala Hadid, Christine Vachon and Chris McDonald.

Festival sponsor Reliance Industries’ Nita Ambani announced a new award that will start next year – the Jio MAMI Award for Excellence in Digital Narrative Content. “Through this award we want to discover and celebrate, the talent and potential of our youth,” Ambani said.

The evening concluded with an all-vegetarian repast hosted by Mukesh Ambani and Nita Ambani at their $1 billion dollar private residence, Antilla.

More Film

  • Marisa Liston

    Sony Veteran Marisa Liston to Lead Lionsgate Movie Publicity

    Lionsgate has named Sony Pictures veteran executive Marisa Liston to lead all feature film and motion picture group publicity and communications strategy. Liston, who departed Sony in late 2018 after 17 years, has been assigned the newly created title of head of global earned media and communications. She will oversee domestic and international feature film [...]

  • Studios Spurn WGA Request to Ban

    Studios Reject WGA Request to Ban Non-Franchised Talent Agents

    Studios have rejected a request by the Writers Guild of America to bar talent agents if the current franchise agreement expires on April 7, saying it could expose them to extensive legal damages. The WGA will hold five days of member voting starting March 27 on a proposed “code of conduct” eliminating agency packaging fees [...]

  • Colin Firth

    Colin Firth's Fantasy-Drama 'The Secret Garden' Bought by STX

    STXFilms has acquired North American distribution rights to “The Secret Garden,” a movie adaptation of the beloved children’s novel that was in development at Global Road Entertainment for the past year. The film stars Oscar winner Colin Firth and Julie Walters. Marc Munden (“The Crimson Petal and the White”) directs from a script by Jack [...]

  • Frank Grillo Hell on the Border

    Frank Grillo Signs With CAA (EXCLUSIVE)

    “The Purge” star Frank Grillo has signed with CAA for representation, sources tell Variety. Grillo’s long list of credits includes “The Purge: Anarchy,” “The Purge: Election Year,” “Captain America: Winter Soldier,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “Wheelman,” and “Warrior.” On the TV side, he was the star of the Audience drama series “Kingdom,” which also starred [...]

  • The Top 10 Portrayals of Record

    Music Executives on Screen: 10 Memorable Movie Portrayals

    In the Netflix biopic “The Dirt,” Pete Davidson of “Saturday Night Live” fame portrays A&R exec Tom Zutaut, the man who signed Motley Crue to Elektra and Guns N’ Roses to Geffen, while veteran character actor David Costabile (“The Wire,” “Billions”) is manager Doc McGhee. They follow in a long and illustrious line of label [...]

  • Korea Box Office: "Money" Wins Debut

    Korea Box Office: 'Money' Defeats 'Captain Marvel'

    Korean crime drama “Money” debuted on top of the South Korean box office, preventing “Captain Marvel” from topping the chart for three consecutive weekends. It is the story of a young stockbroker who dreams of riches but becomes caught in a stock market scam. Opening on Wednesday, the Showbox release earned $12.0 million from 1.54 [...]

  • Us Movie

    'Us' Cements the Box Office Power of Jordan Peele

    Given the breakout success of “Get Out,” it’s no surprise audiences were salivating to see the next nightmare from the mind of writer-director Jordan Peele. “Get Out,” which landed a screenwriting Oscar for Peele, became one of the most profitable movies of 2017 (grossing $255 million globally on a $4.5 million budget) after the horror [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content