On Thursday evening, a number of film lovers took to social media to express their anguish over the possibility that the 16th Mumbai Film Festival (MFF) might have to skip a year due to the shortfall of Rs 5 crore. They furiously shared and retweeted the message that if 5,000 people came forward and contributed Rs 10,000 each, the week-long festival could open on October 14,
Over the weekend, the festival had generated enough support and funds to announce on Monday that it will be held as scheduled. “To witness so many of you show your support has not only kick-started our campaign but also given us hope,” said festival director Srinivasan Narayan.
The Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI), which organises the festival, has been trying to find sponsors following Reliance Entertainment’s exit as the key sponsor of the annual event for five years. After the scare of skipping a year, MFF has found supporters in Cinestaan Film Company, promoted by Anand Mahindra and Rohit Khattar who have committed Rs 60 lakh. “Anand (Mahindra) and I believe that a festival as important as this should not belong to one sponsor or studio. As the youngest film studio, we would appeal to the larger studios, production houses and all film lovers in Mumbai, to take joint ownership,” said Khattar, chairman, Cinestaan.
Producer-directors Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Rajkumar Hirani, producers Manish Mundra, Vivek Kajaria and Nilesh Navlakha, director Hansal Mehta and author Anupama Chopra are the MFF’s other benefactors. Directors Kiran Rao, Vikramaditya Motwane and Anand Gandhi are also trying to drum up the industry support for the festival.
A visibly happy Narayan said, “Today, for the first time it truly feels that MFF belongs to the patrons and lovers of the festival. Nearly 300 ordinary people have contacted us, expressing their willingness to make contributions.” For further details visit http://www.mumbaifilmfest.org/pledge.
The festival lineup will be announced on September 17. The main venue will be Liberty Cinema, Marine Lines. Festival screenings will also be held at Metro BIG Cinema, Dhobi Talao, and PVR, Andheri.