Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap's latest boxing drama Mukkabaaz will be the opening movie at the Jio MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival and the director is elated as he feels the movie will get a great platform to be showcased.
The film chronicles the story of a boxer from Uttar Pradesh, who falls in love with a Brahmin girl.
"Smriti Kiran (creative director MAMI) had heard about Mukkabaaz. She saw the film and two days later told me she wants the film for MAMI. I said I don't qualify for India Gold or anything, where will you show it? Will you have a secret screening?”
"Then they said they want to make it as an opening film... For me it's a moment of pride. I was very happy because my films have never played at MAMI. To premiere at MAMI, I had to let go the Asian premiere at Busan. It's a choice I made," Kashyap told reporters in Mumbai.
The festival, organised by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image in association with Star, is scheduled to be held from October 12 to 18. The opening ceremony will be held at the iconic Liberty cinema.
The Raman Raghav 2.0 director said the best part about film festivals is that it gives boost to movies which really need attention. "Festivals give visibility to films which at times they really need. Haramkhor and Peddlers got visibility through festivals... The divide of indie cinema vs commercial cinema is all over the world. A lot of Sundance festival films go straight to digital. All of them don't get a release but they draw attention.”
"I've benefited a lot from them (film festivals). It really helps. Sometimes films struggle for a theatrical release in India because you are coming with a different mindset. But once at MAMI, the film gets so much traction that you come in the eyes of distributors and presenters," Kashyap said.
Kiran Rao, chairperson, MAMI, said the upcoming 19th edition of the festival will showcase over 220 films from 49 countries in 51 languages.
In the competition section- India Gold, movies like Ashwatthama, Juze, Machines, Ralang Road, Sexy Durga, Village Rockstars among others will be screened.