Village Rockstars chosen Best Film of India Gold section at Mumbai festival

Woman directors swept the top awards at the 19th MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Carla Simon's Summer 1993 winning the top honour in the international category.

A still from Rima Das's Village Rockstars


Women ruled the roost at the 19th MAMI Mumbai Film Festival. Rima Das's film Village Rockstars won the Golden Gateway award in the India Gold category and Carla Simon's Summer 1993 won the honour in the International category.

The seven-day event, which concluded on Wednesday night here, screened over 220 films from 51 countries, including features, documentaries and short films.

Das was ecstatic as her movie also won the Oxfam Best Film – Gender Equality award and the Young Critics Choice Award at the festival. The director-cinematographer-editor-producer said: "I am grateful to the MAMI jury and especially to my children. Most of the people thought I was mad. But the children and my family believed in me.

"When I started making movies, the movies were earlier selected in festivals, but my mother used to ask whether I will win. So this is to my mom."

Simon, who was on her first visit to India, said it was an "incredible experience".

Rina Soni, director of Oxfam India, said: "Globally, women seldom get fair credit and recognition for their work. There is no shortage of talented female filmmakers out there, they just need a platform to shine.

"The [Oxfam] award is to support and encourage filmmakers to make films that break gender norms or challenge the conventional portrayal of women and girls.

"Village Rockstars deserves the award as it brings on screen the story of hope and aspirations of a young girl fighting inequality and disasters. We are delighted that another path-breaking film, The Hungry, received a special mention in this category."

Actresses Radhika Apte and Sayani Gupta were the presenters for the ceremony, after which a closing night party saw the attendance of names like Sonam Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Rajkumar Hirani, Kabir Khan, Anurag Kashyap, Rajkummar Rao, Ashutosh Gowariker, Konkona Sensharma and Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who is also the husband of festival director Anupama Chopra.

Anupama Chopra said: "This has been a weeklong celebration of movies. I want to thank our enthusiastic audience and our generous partners for helping us make this edition of MAMI a roaring success."

Hansal Mehta's film Omerta, starring Rajkummar Rao, was the closing film of the festival. Rajkummar Rao gave away the Audience Choice award to the Hungarian drama On Body And Soul by Ildiko Enyedi.

In the India Gold section, the jury gave a special mention to Sexy Durga by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan and to Up, Down And Sideways by Anushka Meenakshi and Ishwar Srikumar.

The Silver Gateway award went to Machines by Rahul Jain.

The gala ended with the announcement of the dates for the 20th edition of the festival — 25 October to 1 November, 2018. MAMI, the Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image, will resume its year-round programme next week with the first screening in India of Disney's Thor: Ragnarok.

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