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How indie films shined at the MAMI Film Festival 2018

Suhani Singh
Suhani SinghNov 03, 2018 | 12:32

How indie films shined at the MAMI Film Festival 2018

It was a winning streak for Assamese filmmaker Rima Das at the Mumbai Film Festival last year. Her second feature film, Village Rockstars, won three prizes at the festival before bagging four National Awards and then becoming India’s official entry to the Oscars 2019.

A year later, Das has done it again. This time, Bulbul Can Sing, a coming-of-age drama directed, edited, shot and co-produced by her, has won the Golden Gateway prize for Best Indian Film. Like her last film, this too is shot in her village Dohgaon Kalardiya, and features locals as actors.

“I feel blessed that I can live so many experiences and emotions through my characters,” said Das after receiving the prize. “There are so many things that I hesitate to speak about since my childhood, and films give me the freedom to say it all.” Dedicating the award to her mother, Jaya, who is also the film’s co-producer, Das said, “I still remember the day I was going for my first shoot in Assam. I asked my brother to accompany me and he refused. That’s when my mom said 'why can't you do it yourself?' Instead of painting a rosy picture, she pushed me into the real world.”

Aditya Vikram Sengupta’s Jonaki and Ridham Janve’s The GoldLaden Sheep & the Sacred Mountain were joint winners of the second prize. Jonaki, Sengupta’s second Bengali feature film after the dreamlike Asha Jaoar Majhe (Labour of Love), is inspired by his late grandmother.

mami1-copy_110318111640.jpg(Photo: Mail Today)

In his director’s note, Sengupta writes, “Through the visual aesthetics and soundscape in Jonaki, I wanted to get closest to the feelings of my childhood memories, my grandmother’s comatose state, and my dreams after her death.” Veteran Bengali actress Lolita Chatterjee plays the titular character of the 80-year-old woman searching “for love in a strange world of decaying memories”, with Jim Sarbh and Ratnabali Bhattacharjee co-starring.

The Gaddi drama The Gold-Laden Sheep & The Sacred Mountain is Jarve’s first feature. Set in the beautiful and perilous mountainous terrain of Dhauladhar, Himachal Pradesh, it follows a shepherd who navigates it to find the remains of a crashed aircraft and its pilot. During the course of 97 minutes, Jarve captures the fraught life in a challenging landscape, offers a glimpse of a testy relationship between the ageing shepherd and the help he’s hired and blends Gaddi folklore with reality.

Director Kabir Singh Chowdhry’s Mehsampur, a Punjabi and English mockumentary on iconic Punjabi folk singer-composer Amar Singh Chamkila, won the grand jury prize in the India Gold category. Popularly known as the Elvis of Punjab, Chamkila and his wife Amarjot were shot dead by militants in the late 1980s.

The film also marks Navjot Randhawa’s debut as an actor. “All the blood, sweat, tears and obstacles we faced while making this suddenly seem worth it,” said Chowdhry, “though it’s still not sunk in.”

Last updated: November 03, 2018 | 12:32
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