It’s virtually impossible to watch every film you want, or attend every panel discussion or masterclass. One always tends to miss out on some titles, no matter how much you plan and plot. Then there are the films you don’t plan for – the little-known, unexpected ones that surprise you, often when you haven’t even booked tickets and just walk into it because there’s nothing else left to watch. This happens at least once every year – last year, for me, it was playwright Pushan Kripalani’s debut film ‘The Threshold', starring Rajit Kapoor and Neena Gupta, a lovely little chamber piece in a cabin in the hills about a married couple in the twilight of their relationship.
It’s tough to predict these ones, but here are a few that could just be “that” experience this time at the Mumbai Film Festival:
VENTILATOR (Marathi Talkies)
Dir: Rajesh Mapuskar
The trailer looks fantastic – a chaotic, introspective, Priyanka Chopra-produced comedy about a family and relatives descending upon a hospital to visit their comatose old man, Gajju Kaka. The director, who had made Ferrari Ki Sawaari back in 2012, calls this an “installation of human behavior.” What’s more, it even has Ashutosh Gowariker – the celebrated, but fallen film director (Mohenjo Daro was a disaster) – returning to his acting roots as one of the Karmekar family visitors.
HOUNDS OF LOVE (International Competition)
A sleeper hit at the Venice Film Festival this year, the veteran Australian music-video director’s first feature puts a dizzy spin on the conventional serial-killer genre. About a teenager in the 1980s, kidnapped by an unhinged couple, this promises to be something “different”. Don’t get wary of that term – it’s going to be used plenty over the next week. And hopefully, in a good way.
AMDAVAD MA FAMOUS (Half Ticket)
Dir: Hardik Mehta
A little surprising that this short 30-minute documentary has been placed in the kiddie section (thereby going under the radar in most “expert lists”), but Hardik Mehta’s vivid exploration of the kite-flying festival ‘Uttarayan’ at its epicenter, Ahmedabad, has been arresting eyeballs in festivals across the year. As an Amdavad native, I can confirm the madness and infectious mood – just the sight of the sky dotted with colorful kites, and ‘tukkals’ (kites with diyas on the strings) by night is an annual spectacle. A peak into this culture is anything but dour.
CLASH (World Cinema)
Dir: Mohamed Diab
With an entire film set in a police van, where detainees and protestors from different backgrounds ride through riot-ridden Cairo two years after the ‘failed’ revolution in trying circumstances, this film looks like a tense, well-made peek into the political issues concerning Egyptian society. It has received rave reviews throughout the year at prestigious festivals, but hasn’t been talked about as much as the big-director titles.
WILD (World Cinema)
Dir: Nicolette Krabitz
About a woman who breaks ties with civilization and its rules, inspired by a pair of wolf eyes one day on her way back from work, this anarchist film explores her change of identity and the effect it has on her immediate environment. The trailer looks very tempting, and this could well be a surprise for those who can’t book Neruda, Una, Aquarius and the other more fancied titles.