How did you become involved with MAMI and the Mumbai Film Festival?
MAMI, which is the organising body of theMumbai Film Festival, is the only body inthe country created by practising filmmakers. It aims to spread the love of cinema as well as knowledge of it. My own roots lie in cinema; the Indian film industry has nourished and empowered me. And now, looking at the industry from a less insular and more evolved perspective, I feel a greatsense of pride when I observe how far the industry has come in terms of technology, diversity and variety of the filmmaking experience. Thus, it was a matter of pride forme to support and promote and event like the Mumbai Film Festival, which brings the best of world cinema to Mumbai and enables cineastes to interact with the world’smost talented filmmakers.
What is your role in the Mumbai Film Festival?
I prefer to leave the defined ‘roles’ to the wonderfully capable and professional team that runs the Mumbai Film Festival and offer my support whenever and wherever required. My over arching endeavour has been to create a Festival that prompts a greater interest in the minutiae of the filmmaking process and the import of cinema beyond the glitz and glamour that is usually associated with the medium. We have achieved this with the inclusion of a variety of side bar events — from master classes and academic activities to mentoring and open forums.
Do you actively participate in the selectionof the films?
No. The selection is done by a panel of committee members. As I said, this is a professionally conceptualised and managed festival and professionals must beem powered to execute their roles without interference or any personal bias.
Where does MAMI fit in the largerscheme of things for the RelianceGroup, given your widespread interestsacross various sectors?
The Mumbai Film Festival, organised by MAMI, is a Reliance Entertainment initiative.Indeed, the Reliance Group is committedto excellence in every form. Our supportfor the Festival, which celebrates the spirit and rich cinematic heritage of this city, is a natural manifestation of this commitment. Going forward, as Reliance Entertainment deepens its engagement in filmmaking, we are looking forward with immense pride to showcase all that is exciting and progressive in Indian cinema alongside the world’s best.
Tell us a little bit about the ‘Celebrate Age’ segment of the festival.
The ‘Celebrate Age’ section at the Mumbai Film Festival is a competition section inspired by our work at the Harmony for Silvers Foundation, which seeks to improvethe quality of life of Silvers—our term for the elderly—across India. As part of this section, we will screen features, documentaries, short films and even ad films; anything that toasts the spirit of active ageing; the spice, fun and adventure of the silver years.
With festivals like this, is India becoming a global hub for filmmakers?
Home to one of the world’s largest film industries, Mumbai is the city of dreammakers—men and women with the ambition,passion and creativity to breathe life into their stories and take them tothe world. Now, more than ever, the world is watching these stories, admiring them. Indian cinema and our acting talent have always been respected; now,they are being lauded. Events like theMumbai Film Festival will only serve to further global interest in Indian cinema.
Tell us how the festival has evolvedover the years?
Reliance Entertainment has beeninvolved with the Mumbai Film Festival for the past few years and it has grown from strength to strength. It is now apart of the global cultural event calendar and one of the few film festivals to be recognised by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations(FIAPF).
What are the future plans of the Mumbai Film Festival?
This Festival will continue to evolve and grow in stature, attracting the top films, filmmakers and actors from around the world and providing an inclusive platform for the diverse threads that makeup the skein of contemporary Indian cinema. I believe we have already set a benchmark with this 13th edition of the Festival—our goal is to continue to surpass our own benchmarks till we give this maximum city what it deserves: the best film festival in the world!