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MAMI 2018: Soni, Balekempa, Hamid nominated for Oxfam Best Film on Gender Equality Award

Nine feature films have been shortlisted for the third edition of Oxfam Best Film on Gender Equality Award 2018 for the 20th Mumbai Film Festival.

Still from Ivan Ayr's Soni

Sonal Pandya

As the Mumbai Film Festival turns 20, the third edition of the Oxfam Best Film on Gender Equality Award explores the theme of 'Cinema Beyond Stereotypes' with nine films nominated from all around India.

The award honours those films that "break the stereotypical portrayal of male and female characters in films." Previous winners of this award include Lipstick Under My Burkha (2017) and Village Rockstars (2018).

The writer-director of Village Rockstars, Rima Das is a jury member on this year's awards, along with National Award-winning actress Parvathy, and Doha Film Institute CEO Fatima Al Remaihi. Village Rockstars won the National Award for Best Feature Film and is also India's entry to the Oscars for the Best Foreign Language Film award.

The nine films nominated for the award are: Marathi film Imago, Urdu film Hamid, Kannada films Balekempa and Nathicharami, Hindi films Soni and Jaaon Kahan Bata Ae Dil, Malayalam film Ottamuri Velicham, Tamil film Sivaranjani And Two Other Women and Bengali film Jonaki.

How Kashmiri boy Talha Arshad Reshi became Aijaz Khan's Hamid

Imago, co-directed by Karan Chavan and Vikram Patil, is the story of a shy, teenage village-girl, Namrata, battling vitiligo. Ajiaz Khan's Hamid, set in Kashmir, tells the story of eight-year-old Hamid who dials 786 to reach God and find his missing father. Ere Gowda's directorial debut Balekempa centres on a bangle seller and his wife unable to conceive a child. Filmmaker Mansore's Nathicharami looks at the societal taboos on the subject of sex and how it affects the film's female protagonist.

Ivan Ayr has tried to show policewomen as normal women in society: Saloni Batra on Soni

Ivan Ayr's Soni, starring Saloni Batra and Geetika Vidya Ohlyan, follows a young policewoman and her superintendent in Delhi who face challenges when they try to fight and prevent crimes against women. Aadish Keluskar's Jaaon Kahan Bata Ae Dil revolves around a dying relationship, while Ottamuri Velicham, directed by Rahul Riji Nair, tells of story of a wife's struggle against her husband, who confines her in a single room house.

Vasanth S Sai's Sivaranjani And Two Other Women follows three different women across three different time periods who rise up against casual sexism and patriarchy. Finally, Aditya Vikram Sengupta's Jonaki, starring Lalita Chatterjee, is about an 80-year-old woman's search for love.

The CEO of Oxfam India said in a statement, “We are thrilled that this year the number of shortlisted films have increased from four films last year to nine. This is a reflection of the changing times in cinema industry worldwide. Stories that uphold a mirror to socio-political realities in India and that defy stereotypes of caste, class and gender are being made, accepted and appreciated. Women in films are making space to be heard both on and off-screen. The award is to appreciate, celebrate and support stories and people in the industry challenging the status quo."

The winner of the Oxfam Best Film on Gender Equality Award 2018 will be announced on 1 November, the closing night of the festival. The 20th edition of the festival will be held from 25 October to 1 November.

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