MAMI just released its line-up for the 2018 Mumbai Film Festival and we can barely contain our excitement. For film buffs, film industry vets, aspiring filmmakers or perhaps even just a curious spectator, MAMI promises to be a cinematic experience with something fantastic for everyone. This year, which marks the festival’s twentieth anniversary, the festival will feature more than 180 films across a range of countries, subjects, styles and genres.
Unfortunately, it would be humanly impossible to watch every film – try as one might – but an all-access pass can get you into the season’s best. From innocent stories of love amidst political strife in Kashmir, to taking on Indian society’s twisted understanding of gender and sexuality, Indian cinema has come a long way from mainstream Bollywood. We put together a list of our favourite Indian films showing this year at MAMI that are sure to challenge your perceptions, engage you emotionally and captivate you.
[Here’s our list of must-watch international films at MAMI this year.]
Hamid is the heartwarming story of a little boy who believes 786 is God’s number and tries to call it. By chance, he is connected with a stranger on the other end of the line and the two lives are intertwined in the search for peace and love in a conflict-ridden Kashmir.
II. Ma’ama (Moan)
After his wife’s death, a 90-year old man – the director’s father – is swarmed with guilt about not having cared enough for her. This docu-fiction, quietly powerful self-portrait of the director’s family is an emotional meditation on life in the Northeast of India. It is India’s only entry in the nternational competition.
Chuskit follows the story of a young girl who becomes paraplegic after an accident and can no longer go to school. She has to confront her grandfather’s opposing views about her life and choose between her family and a life of unfulfilled dreams.
On the eve of his 10th birthday, the film’s titular character Chippa finds a letter from his father, someone who’s been absent from his life for a long time. The film follows the young boy’s late-night adventure, filled with oddballs and interesting characters, as he searches for someone who can read the Urdu letter to him.
IV. Namdev Bhau
A film by Ukrainian director Dar Gai, Namdev Bhau tells the story of a 65-year-old exasperated man, tired of the chaos and noise (literally and metaphorically) of city life. He leaves Mumbai behind and starts off on a journey to ‘Silent Valley’. Namdev is a man of few words but huge impact as we see in his interactions with people along the way. The beautiful backdrops of Leh/Ladakh and wide-angle shots make it an immersive experience. You can’t help but feel for the main character when he finally does speak, making you question what peace and silence mean for you.
V. Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota
The opening film at MAMI this year, action-comedy Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota is filled with, Bollywood iconography, humour and heart. Vasan Bala’s second run at directing, the film follows ‘superboy’ Surya who has congenital analgesia – simply, cannot feel/comprehend pain. We see his playing out of old VHS action tapes, his deep disdain for chain snatchers and other eccentricities coming to the audience through the one-legged master and the typical villain.
While Jonaki, an 80-year-old woman, searches for love in a strange world of decaying memories, her lover, now old and grey, returns to a world she is leaving behind
VII. Bird of Dusk
Featuring the director’s own interviews and archival footage, this documentary is a memoir of the massive cultural icon, Indian writer-director Rituparno Ghosh. Ghosh lived and worked in the city of Kolkata, which he loved dearly, and his films capture the spirit of that endearment. Shot over a year, this documentary gives life to the changing landscape of Ghosh’s home.
Tempted by the chance of being a protagonist in a documentary film, Buddha Dev, a 27-year-old flashy Goan cricketer, starts allowing unrestricted access into the most private aspects of his life. The documentary is written and directed by Kabir Mehta, an independent filmmaker based in Mumbai.
Correction [Oct. 24, 1:40pm]: We had previously listed Balekampa, directed by Ere Gowda, but following the sexual allegations against him we have decided to replace it on this list.
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