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My Tryst with 15th Mumbai Film Festival 2013 Part 1

Costa Gavras and Kamal Haasan_at the Opening Ceremony_15th Mumbai Film Festival(MAMI)Like every year, being a cinema aficionado, Mumbai Film Festival is an annual event I looked forward to this year as well. In the last 8 years I have juggled my board exams, skipped vivas and done many other adjustments all just to attend this fest.

I do not know, which part of online fundamentals the MAMI/MFF organisers do not understand. If a delegate pays his money online, along with his photos, he or she still has to go to the venue and stand in line and collect the pass, which for me does not make sense. Why can’t the organizers give option to people to download the pass directly from home if they can accept money online .

This time another change was the ticketing System, which was more painful than booking a ticket on the IRCTC website. First of all the booking would open at 12 A.M i.e midnight, which means most people would have to stay awake till 1 daily to book tickets. Imagine the ordeal for people who have to travel and watch movies and then get back home to book tickets again. Why could not a delegate book tickets for one whole week in one go? A considerable number of delegates are senior citizens, some of them are not well versed with technology, and also have health problems, and did the MFF organizers think these people could book online? Another thing , once you book a ticket you could not cancel the ticket, which was baffling for me. I mean even if a person had booked ticket by mistake he or she could not cancel it.In that case, the ticket would go waste as person did not want to see that particular movie.

For some strange reasons, the people who run MAMI/MFF decided that they will have master classes or workshops between 12 P.M – 3 P.M (at Metro Cinema), and they will not show any movie in that slot, which does not make any sense to me . If you have master class, wouldn’t it be more appropriate for those interested in the same? What about the regular audience who are more interested in watching movies and not keen to attend these master classes? In a city like Mumbai, where it is almost a sin to waste even a second, delegates were forced to while away time for 3 hours. At least the organizers could have instead of scheduled the 1st show of the day at 12 noon instead of  having an early 10 am show at Liberty. This could have at least benefited some people, especially those who have to travel far to attend the fest.

Another problem was the cancellation of shows, when you cancel a show on a Sunday morning and Sunday evening at least provide an alternate screening. So in case of Metro Cinema those who booked ticket for a movie like  Miniscule which got cancelled had no option but to stand in queue for other movie in spite of booking for Miniscule, why could not they show some other movie in the same screen in its place?

The other aspect of this reservation was that the ushers did not know how to check the same. What happened was people forwarding the reservation sms to others, thus the hall would get full and people who genuinely booked ticket were standing outside the hall. Another stupid rule was that you should reach a screen ten minutes before a film, even though you have booked ticket. This was downright stupid, e.g. if I am watching a movie at 6 pm, the duration of the movie is 120 minutes, do the organizers at MFF, expect me to leave the last 15 minutes of the film and stand in line for 8 pm for which I have booked tickets?

MFF this year created a history of sorts, in the world of film festivals. It honored Kamal Hassan with Life Time Achievement award, yet did not show a single movie of his, while films like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag was screened at festival despite it getting a wide release and television premiere 5 days before fest. (There was a screening of Hey Ram at Liberty Cinema which was stopped 15 minutes into the start and never rescheduled again unlike what was promised).

I do not know why since last 2-3 years the Opening film and Closing Films are Hollywood films. This year both the opening films and closing films were not received well even in USA. Strangely more and more Hollywood films are becoming part of fest, hope the selection committee bring some new films which are not part of Hollywood next year.

By: Cinemausher
Posted: November 6, 2013, 8:59 am


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