A strong selection of Indian films is among the highlights of the 21st Mumbai Film Festival. The festival, which runs Oct. 17-24, announced its lineup on Thursday.
The festival’s Spotlight strand boasts of five world premieres, including Arati Kadav’s much awaited sci-film “Cargo,” actor Seema Bhargava Pahwa’s directorial debut, the family drama “Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi,” Deepti Gupta’s document of a female artist’s fight for equality in modern India “Shut Up Sona,” Kamal Swaroop’s portrayal of a theatre troupe staging a mythological play “Samudra Manthan” and R.V. Ramani’s “Oh That’s Bhanu.” The strand also includes Goutam Ghose’s “The Wayfarers” (“Raahgir”,) that has its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival.
The Mumbai festival’s India Gold competition features further Busan titles, Gurvinder Singh’s “Bitter Chestnut” and Kislay’s “Just Like That,” and Gitanjali Rao’s hand drawn animation festival favourite “Bombay Rose” whose festival playdates have included Venice, Toronto, Busan and London, Bhaskar Hazarika’s Tribeca selection “Aamis,” and Yashaswini Raghunandan’s Rotterdam title “That Cloud Never Left.”
“City of God” filmmaker Fernando Meirelles will receive the international excellence in cinema award and conduct a masterclass, while veteran actress Deepti Naval will receive the Indian equivalent of the award.
For the first time in its history, the festival will open with a Malayalam-language film, Geethu Mohandas’ Toronto title “Moothon” (“The Elder One”).
The festival’s international competition is also strong, with 13 first time filmmakers vying for a total cash prize of more than $60,000. These include Rodd Rathjen’s “Buoyancy,” Sofi Quiros Ubeda’s “Land of Ashes,” Melina Leon’s “Song Without A Name,” and Mirrah Foulkes’ “Judy and Punch.”
Curation of popular international titles remain robust and includes Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story,” James Gray’s “Ad Astra,” Joanna Hogg’s “The Souvenir,” Ari Aster’s “Midsommar,” and Ken Loach’s “Sorry We Missed You”.
The festival is supported by billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s telecoms company Reliance Jio, and Disney’s Star network.