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

  • Steph Curry Variety Cover Story

    Stephen Curry Takes a Shot at a New Game: Producing for Hollywood

    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 […]

  • BFI Sets Out Widespread Plans to

    British Film Institute Sets Out Proposals to Boost U.K. Indie Film Sector

    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 […]

  • Robin Hood

    Hungary Raises Production Incentive from 25% to 30% (EXCLUSIVE)

    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 […]

  • King Cohen review

    Film Review: 'King Cohen'

    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 […]

  • 'The Equalizer 2' Review

    Film Review: Denzel Washington in 'The Equalizer 2'

    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 […]

  • BiFan: ‘Worm’ and ‘Soul Searching’ Claim

    BiFan: ‘Worm’ and ‘Soul Searching’ Claim Bucheon’s NAFF Awards

    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 […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content