Mumbai: Filmmaker Rima Das’ Assamese feature “Bulbul Can Sing” bagged the prestigious Golden Gateway Award at the 20th edition of Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star on Thursday. The film marks her second consecutive win at MAMI, after her last year’s victory run with “Village Rockstars”, which is India’s entry to Oscars.
“Bulbul Can Sing” is a coming-of-age drama about a teenage girl, Bulbul, living in a village in Assam, fighting her way through love and loss as she figures out who she really is. Dedicating the award to her mother, Das sought “blessings and love” for the Oscar journey of “Village Rockstars”.
American filmmaker Darren Aronofsky was presented the prestigious Excellence in Cinema award by filmmaker Vishal Bharadwaj. “I have been to Mumbai a few times and I love the city because it is insane. It’s more insane than New York. (It has) incredible people and food. More important, it is a great fountain of movies. I am thankful for this honour. I am very happy that my films are watched here,” Aronofsky said.
The Silver Gateway, India Gold award was shared by “The Gold Laden Sheep and The Sacred Mountain by Ridham Janve and “Jonaki” by Aditya Vikram Sengupta. “Jonaki” also got a special mention for the Oxfam award. Kabir Chowdhry’s “Mehsampur” bagged the grand jury prize for India Gold.
The awards were presented by filmmakers Lucrecia Martel, Martin Sulik and Soudade Kaadan. In the International Competition category, the Golden Gateway Award went to “Manta Ray”, directed by Phuttiphong Aroonpheng.
Paraguayan drama “The Heiresses” directed by Marcelo Martinessi bagged the Silver Gateway award.
The International Competition grand jury prize went to “The Island of Hungry Ghosts” by Gabrielle Brady. The special jury mention went to “Reza” by Alireza Motamedi.
In the Dimensions Mumbai category, the Golden Gateway award went to Karan Asnani’s “Sheher Ya Tum”.
“Yadav Ji” directed by Nishtha Sadwelkar bagged the Silvery Gateway Award while Gilroy Rodrigues’ “Metaphor” got a special mention in the Dimensions Mumbai. The jury for the category included Bejoy Nambiar, actors Parvathy and Renuka Shahane, among others.
The special award for Discovering India went to “Lovesick” directed by Ann S Kim and Priya Giri Desai. The 70-minute documentary follows Padma Shri recipient Dr Suniti Solomon, who discovered India’s first case of HIV in 1986.
“Lovesick” chronicles her way to help fight the epidemic by becoming a matchmaker to the spouses for her HIV+ patients.
The Oxfam Award for best film on gender equality was bagged by Ivan Ayar’s “Soni”. The film, starring Geetika Vidya Ohlyan and Saloni Batra, explores the lives of two Delhi policewomen and how the two female officers react to the rise of sexual violence in the capital of the country.
“Winning the award is a big honour and it brings a great amount of credibility to the film’s intentions and its achievement. As a filmmaker it encourages me to continue to tell stories that are about the human condition and human experiences, oblivious to the gender of the character,” Ivan said.
“Sivaranjani and Two Other Men” by Vasanth S Sai and “Jonaki” directed by Aditya Vikram Sengupta got Oxfam special jury mention for gender equality. The award for the Best Large Short Film went to “New Year’s Eve” by Pranav Bhasin. The Young Critics choice award went to “Jaaon Kahan Bata Ae Dil” directed by Aadish Keluskar.
The Golden Gateway for the Best Short Film, 5-9 years, in the Half Ticket category went to “Listen” by Astrid Bussink while “Amelia” by directors Maribeth Romslo and Cristina Pippa was adjudged the winner of Golden Gateway, 9+ years category.
Priya Ramasubban’s “Chuskit” received the Golden Gateway for the Best Feature (5-9 years) in the Half Ticket section whereas the best feature, 9+ years, in the Half Ticket category went to Denis Do’s “Funan”.
Actor Soha Ali Khan’s debut novel “Perils of Being Moderately Famous” bagged the Book Award for Excellence in writing on Cinema (English). Filmmaker Zoya Akhtar and Nirupama Kotru, Director Films, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting presented the award to the actor. The Book Award for Excellence in Writing on Cinema, Language in Focus Malayalam went to Madhu Eravankara for his “100 Varsham, 100 Cinemakal.” The Special Jury Mention went to “Start Action: Musings of a Moviemaker” by Balachandra Menon.
This year the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star commemorated the life and incredible career of Sridevi and honoured her with the MAMI Tribute for her exceptional contribution to Indian cinema.
At the closing ceremony, filmmaker Gauri Shinde gave the “English Vinglish” star an emotional tribute. MAMI Chairperson Kiran Rao announced that the 21st edition of the festival will be held from October 17 to 24. The opening film of this year’s edition was Vasan Bala’s “Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota” while “Widows”, directed by Steve McQueen, closed the festival.