Mumbai: Showcasing cinema from 59 countries, MAMI`s 12th Mumbai Film Festival began here amid much fanfare, with some well known names in the film fraternity turning up for the inaugural event even though the Bollywood quotient was missing.
David Fincher`s ‘The Social Network’ was the opening film Thursday night at the eight-day fest. The Festival will feature the world premiere of five movies - three from India and one each from Denmark and France - and confer the ‘International Lifetime Achievement Award’ on three-time Academy award winner Oliver Stone.
Filmmaker Shyam Benegal, who is also part of the jury, was one of the early birds Thursday night followed by the likes of Director Ramesh Sippy and wife Kiran Juneja, newbie filmmaker Ayan Mukherjee, choreographer Vaibhavi Merchant and TV actors Bhawna and Shobha Khote.
"I have been coming to MAMI for years. I am obsessed with world cinema and this year MAMI has excellent films to watch," Mukherjee, the young director of hit film ‘Wake Up Sid’, told reporters.
However, not many mainstream Bollywood faces could be seen.
MAMI will include 215 feature films, 15 documentaries, 24 short films on nine screens across Mumbai and over Rs.1 crore in prize money.
It will also have a 49-film Japanese retrospective, including five in the competition section. Supported by the government of Maharashtra, Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) is a Reliance Big Entertainment initiative.
Present on the inaugural night were the veteran Manoj Kumar, actor Ranvir Shorey, director-turned-producer Kunal Kohli and actress Minissha Lamba. However, the media and the audience did not get to see the stars they were expecting.
"I am thankful to MAMI. That the world has recognised Indian cinema now is something to be proud of. Now there is no limit to progress for Indian cinema," said Manoj Kumar, who will be honoured for lifetime achievement at the MAMI awards ceremony.
The Indian films to premiere at the festival are Biju Kumar`s ‘The Way Home’, Sudhish Kamath`s ‘Good Night Good Morning’ and debutant K.M. Kamal`s ‘Alif’. The Danish film, ‘Above the Street Below the Water’, is directed by Charlotte Sieling. Director duo Jonas Pariente and Mathias Mangin`s French documentary ‘Next Year in Mumbai’ will also be screened.