Mami Film Fest 2019

“Movies, I enjoy watching and when you have one of the best film festival coming annual to the city of dreams and getting a selection of movies, the audiences would love to watch, then the only worst thing would be not to attend the annual JioMami Film Festival in Mumbai. I had watched about eleven movies in the week, after shortlisting sixteen movies I would like to watch. But, here I am sharing the  best movies from the film festival I watched.” 

  • Young Ahmed 

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A Belgian Cinema movie in French .The Story is about a young boy named Ahmed  played by Idir Ben Addi who is influenced by The religious book and acts like the fanatic that leads him  being an extremist and plotter to murder his Teacher. 

The Story opens with Idir Ben Addi running upstairs,Breathing heavily making a call feeling a little helpless and  not behaving himself ,  at the dinning table  too his mother notices his eccentric behaviour and is stunned with his reactions and tone. His behaviour’s are so extreme that even A dog licking him- he wants  to wash his hands. 

The movie focuses on his behaviour in the custody while doing the services and when his mothers come to meet him, He tries to understand what has lead him to be such a being. And when he manages to convince his representatives at the custody that he has changed.

 The story moves  forward with Ahmed being driven and suddenly opens the car door and escapes- Running  for minutes they too are shown chasing him until they loose sight of him and he manages to reach the teachers’s house.

 He tries to enter her place initially from the main entrance ,  but later tries to climb up on the roof and  enters by opening the windows – Till he slips down on the floor and is bleeding away looking for help till  he manages to alert the the teacher or someone who is at home and  … The film background score is a always driving the scenes and setting the mood throughout the film. 

The Acting by a Idir Ben Addi was outstanding. Haven’t seen the pervious work of  The Directors Duo Luc Dardenne &   Jean Pierre who had  been nominated for two days and one night in best foreign film category previous in 2015  and   were awarded  Best Director “young  Ahmed “ in 2019. To Judge whether it was their Best work or not . 

The Movies ends with leaving you with your own interpretations about the end. Personally it was a great movie for me. Not very slow. But a lesson to takeaway in the end. 

***/*****

  • Midnight Traveller 

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A Documentary style autobiographical tone film,  is about the Hasaan  Fazili & his family how they have to keep travelling  to “find a home.“

 Hasaan a filmmaker had made a film on a Taliban Commander – And  the Taliban first killed the commander and  threaten Fazili and at his  “Art Cafe” and within weeks they wanted him dead .

A friend of Hassan  who  worked for Taliban informs him, the Taliban have announced a reward  on “Hasaan.”  

He manages to escape the country and then story is all about how he & the family keep travelling  from  Tajisthan and then Afghanistan to turkey finally finding asylum in the Serbia Refugee camp for the longest time until they have to move again,Until today they haven’t found a “Home” they could call it theirs. The Film is entirely shot on  mobile phones and the edit has been kept as  natural as possible. There are a few light moments in the film .  The whole story is about their struggle of how they  have survived  & have been surviving. And they  travel only  at night as they aren’t taking the legal route and can’t afford to be caught. In  The journey they  were also betrayed by the ones they ran for help to.  

Midnight Traveller – In certain ways changes your perception of Travel. 

****/***** 

  • The Little Joe –  Austrian Cinema (English )

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A Sci-Fi film about  a genetically engineered  plant “ little Joe” Which is an anti-depressant and one who makes you happy. 

This is a prototype model the company is working on. 

One Day “Little Joe” is taken home by the lead Emily Beecham who plays the role as Alice.

And the son “Joe”  played by Kit Connor is impressed by this New mysterious looking plant who one has to speak to  “To make him feel alive.” 

One of the colleagues in the company “Bella’s” Dog has gone missing and is found in the lab. And he pounces . On the company employee and the “Little Joe” blooms and giveaway pollen that  changes  the dogs behaviour.  

And Bella put  had to her dog to sleep.

And Bella believes the Plant is responsible for her to put her dog to sleep. 

It isn’t until Joe,s mother believes Joe too has been infected by the plant that she wants to stop this prototype to become a genuine product for all Business. 

Suspenseful music at moments when needed  enchases and engrosses the audience. 

The wide shot to show that focuses  greenhouse , the last shot of “little Joe plant” the colour palate & texture  throughout the film is very artificially shot – Which the director  Jessica Hausner’s  says she enjoyed shooting it that way ,but likes to show it authentically. 

***/*****

  • System Crasher (German)

 

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Problem Children are known as the system crasher. Benni is one such System Crasher who is impatient and has anger issues from childhood. She doesn’t stay with her parents but at a play school. The Boys bully her, she also steals and always looks to escape the reality. The music when the film opens is upbeat ,Certain shots like the screaming from Wardrobe  when she is attacked looks beautiful on screen. At times the audience has sympathy for the character,But at times they empathy. We don’t know the exact reason for her Anger, But we get an hint that  may be the mother is responsible for state and feels guilty at the same  , As she would visit Benni whenever required. 

We see certain transformation and change in Benni. But, The end justifies she is one case that will never change. 

System Crasher is the Academy award submission from Germany  and  Helena Zengel who plays Benni  might earn a nomination for the performance. 

***/*****

  • Pain & Glory – (Spanish)

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A Filmmkaer is looking back at the choices he made in life – About the film in one line. 

Then you realise oh! It;s made by Pedro Almodovar.You start watching the film unfold with  full concentration. It’s  a the transitions & animation that catches your attention when the lead  Salvador played by Pedro Almodovar’s muse Antonio Banderas who   talks about his pains & about his life that’s beautiful done. The flashbacks of his childhood  reflection  when Salvador is tripping on Heroine. 

The relationship between his Actor & him when they meet  after 32 years and the purpose  “ Coming together for a screening and discussion of their film Sabor”  But, the moments and some other aspects the story touches upon is wonderful. Throughout the film I noticed  a lot of “ RED Colour” used in the background and setting that was cinematically done. Pain & Glory is the best so far I have seen at Mami this Year. 

Very Autobiographical in many ways. The opening  scene where Salvvadaor is laying in the pool is a scene that’s recreated by the director from his own life.  

Trivia : The lead and Almodovar hadn’t worked together for 22 years with each other until “The skin  I live in “ a psychological thriller based on a French novel “ Mygale” and later in English as “ Tarantula”   they collaborated about eight years ago when Antonio played the lead.  Besides Antonio, Penelope Cruz is too someone who has collaborated as an actor in many of his films.

****/*****

  • The Truth 

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A  story about a woman who is an actress has written a book on herself & her family. 

She is now acting in a movie memories of her mother. 

Her daughter comes to visit and  tells her mother, 

You were supposed to send me the book’s draft first ,before it goes to print. 

And after the mother handover the book , She reads and realises there isn’t any truth in this.

The mother has also “killed”  her husband in the book. Who is actually still alive. 

And  in the meantime she is busy with her shoot “Memories of her mother.”

There are moments where her granddaughter on the sets of her film is trying to impress the child actor. Which works and the audiences laugh .It’s a comedy with lot of emotions and  understanding of the “Mother- daughter relationship” 

To tell you the truth, truth has been one of the best movies at Jio MAMI FILM FESTIVAL.  

****/*****

  • Lighthouse 

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The film is cinematically beautiful in  B&W . The Background   music suspenseful  every time the lighthouse is focused on  there is a loud  noise building up some sort of Mystery. 

 The Fart sound at  opening scene, Adds to the humour and  opens with  Ephraim  played by Robbert Pattison & Thomas played  William Dafoe . You will clearly remember him as “Green Goblin” from spider man. The film is about Ephraim who is curious about what lies at the top of the lighthouse and  why   isn’t  he  allowed to ever go there and  what would Thomas be hiding from me ?  Ephraim’s  main job is manning the “lighthouse” on an isolated rock. The two protagonist try to find a “purpose“  in the monotonous job and are often seen frustrated with the isolation that surrounds them.

The Performances by both the actors is fabulous and the cinematography showing the transition and  visuals of the Mermaid  between the present and  the imagination is spot on with the siren and seagulls  sound effect setting the mood of  The film. The film  is shot in 4:3 aspect ratio instead of 16:9 aspect ratio. That give  it’s  effect of being a film from another era. No wonder it was a challenge to get a seat for the movie. 

The film is mysterious horror flick   directed by Robbert Eggers, based on a story written by his brother Max Eggers & co written by Robert Eggers. 

****/***** 

  • Deerskin (French)

 

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The opening scenes – I Swear never to wear a jacket as long as I live. 

Jackets being kept in the boot .

Cut to The protagonist buys a smart Deerskin jacket by spending all that he had for it. 

There is something about the jacket,That makes him falls in love with the Jacket  Obsessed with the “New addition.” isn’t really the word. 

There are scenes where he can’t stop looking at himself in  the mirror with the jacket, soon he starts  speaking to  his jacket, At the bar in the hotel he believes the bartender and the guest seated are talking about his jacket. He slowly starts filming himself with the jacket with a Video recorder he gets “Complimentary” with his “New Buy” The Deerskin jacket The Bartender who shares her interest in editing and her eagerness to edit his film as he shares he is a filmmaker. 

The Film is a comedy with moments of laugh . Where his dream is to be the only one with the jacket . He documents all that’s in the recorder.. And the obsession is so out of control as  he buy’s  shoes,Gloves and and Gets a deerskin pant as a gift from the bartender. 

Until the bartender confess she has known all along he was lying to her and convinces him she would seriously like making movies with him . 

The film is concept and the way it’s done is totally out of the box. My 2nd Favourite or best movie I have seen at the Mami Fest this year.  

****/*****

  • The Golden Glove (German)

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An utterly disgusting hard to watch film. Based on a true story about A serial killer “ Fritz Honka” Who in the 70s in German had raped and strangled women to death. 

The Golden Glove was the bar – which he frequented and connived women to come over to the awful apartment and have drinks & later force sex. It isn’t until one day he follows a lady on the streets that directs him towards his apartment, where fire brigade have arrived and are trying to douse the fire- where he watches and realises the fire is happening from his house – The firemen discover chopped bodies that were locked in a storage  space and that’s the end of the horrified story for Fritz Honka. The film is directed by Fatih Akin a German filmmaker who adapted this film from a book . The setting, mood and the feel of the film  is very dark and dull right throughout . 

The scene that Sets 1974 and Honka lights the cigarette is beautiful captured. 

The Acting by Jonas Dasseler  who is just 23 years old has acted superbly, getting into the character and  walk- That  you  actually won’t think he is just 23.

***/*****

 

 

 

Book Review – Bastard of Istanbul!

Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak’s is a story of Nineteen year old unmarried woman who walks into a doctor’s surgery.

‘I need to have an abortion,’ she announces. And twenty years later the daughter is born from the unmarried woman, Asya Kazanci who lives with her extended family in Istanbul. But, All the Kazanci men die in their early forties, Victims of mysterious family curse, so it’s a house of women. Asya’s cousin visit‘s the family in Istanbul and she bringing long- hidden family secrets connected with turkey’s past. Elif Shafak the author had been on my reading list for a long time and my sister got this book as a souvenir from turkey. In many ways It was like revisiting Turkey, Istanbul and enjoying all the local delicacies through the storytelling as the story unfolds and explores sides of Istanbul that only a local could show you around. The locals delicacies described in the book from Pilaf a popular rice dish in the middle east to Bastrima – Beef cold cuts like Salami is more commonly known as Pastrami to the Manti a type of Turkish dumpling to musaqa baked dish that mainly consist of eggplants ( Aubergines) or potatoes with meat. Very popular in Greece and the Middle East.To the last but not the least Kaburga a Turkish term used for Ribs make the book more authentic and enjoyable.And besides the food, the whole experience and details written, Are more relatable and deepens the connect to understands the country and locals. A Book that will make you want to travel to turkey if you haven’t. And if you have would make you want to revisit turkey.

NBA In India !

 

NBA in India was like IPL in the USA.
some of the iconic basketball players like Lebron James, kobe Bryant, Magic Jhonson and Jordon  are of the players and the only team you know is Lakers from Los Angels and nothing much. just like in our Cricket you know and must have heard about Sachin, Virat and Dhoni  who are  some of the legends  from the games. but it’s more about the experience, the carnival( Music, cheers, Madness, the energy the moments, And Deepening your knowledge about the game.)
The NBA  game has 30 Teams divided into Eastern into (Atlantic,Central and southeast and Western teams are divided into (Northwest,Pacific and southwest )  about 80 odd games are played  over a period of six months from November until April. Each game has  
4 quarters of 12 minutes, With time out breaks of 5 minutes and a fifteen minutes break at half time. Well in all it goes on for about 120 minutes to 180 minutes.
Each player was a  minimum 6”2 and  posses the ball for twenty four seconds, Before he could  pass the ball to another player or take a shot at the basket.  There were moments where a lot of the fans felt like minions and dwarfs if they would have stood against the players. The sprints, the dogging of the ball, the accuracy and sometimes the miscalculation of the shots made  the crowd roar and brings them on the edge of their seats and Scream and Cheers. The game  was all about what you actually experience with hundreds of people all there to witness the sport and sinking the feeling of having brought a sport other than cricket brought to our nation, At   the prefect time to introduce a sport that has a potential market.
The Match between Indiana Pacers vs sacramento kings was the first ever official game of NBA in India,Mumbai held on the 4 and 5th of Oct.  It was a great experience, Playing the virtual basket ball game during the breaks and winning Book my show vouchers  worth 500.   Jerseys and merchandises Were  disturbed randomly in the stadium,  And lucky contestant were  part  of  the  the real basket ball moment, with  jersey and Attire making them feel like the players out there. As part of entertainment act Kings united, the Winner of  an American Dance show from India  performed  during the break, To grabbing nachos and cola for the “Real American NBA experience in India.”
To be honest, those one twenty minutes of action, had many moments where we were lost with what’s was happening on the court, As when you are experiencing a live match there are so many distractions out there, you just want to enjoy the Experience, where as the telecasted matches focus on the game rather than the experience. This was my NBA experience in India, now I am pretty sure what a “Foreigner”  goes through while watching an IPL or a cricket match without having much idea about the sport or want to experience and know what the game is all about.

#LFW 2019 !

Lakme Fashion Week was something that I always wanted to experience to know why do people rave about it so much,And what happens in a fashion show. But,Then again I had to wait for a couple of years to witness #LFW.

At the entrance , outside they have photo opportunities with Branding all over, A cafe styled counter and everybody drinking and smoking and soaking in the light showers with an Ariel view of Mumbai. 8th Floor they had designers participating and showcasing their collection. These weren’t the one’s that were going to showcase their collection at the show. These were talented designers, Who were part of the most talked about fashion show. 45 minutes before the gates open to the auditorium, where the “Runway” Show will happen. We are all Queued up. The Queue was long, We are coming in .Moments later,We hear there is a slight delay, as the models aren’t ready.

We are literally Warming up ,by sweating it out waiting for the gates to open.

Gates open,Guest are making their way into the auditorium,As we reach the gates we are stopped. And Preferences to the Guest who have a designated seat number, make their way to the auditorium, We just hoped we shouldn’t be sent back home, If the auditorium is filled up to the capacity. Minutes later we make our way through the auditorium.Looking at the stage, the lights the people out there who have come to watch the show. And the whole ambience.

The Set, Was like a night at the Desert. With Metal Catus and bushes.

The Music began, The Models started making their way through and posing for the Paparazzi. The Collection was subtle and colourful by the designer. The designer was Kunal Rawal. Who’s one of the Men designers I admire for the collection and style. The style is normally Indian,Elegant and simple. The collection he showcased was known as Confluence. Right from Shirts, to jackets to pants all so simply stylish. In the End It was the best evening to attend the lake fashion show and that too of Kunal Rawal – who’s collection of classic Indian wear is the best in the business.

Bungee Jump!

Adventure is something, I look forward to every now and then. 


Nine years ago, when A friend of mine was introducing Bungy Jumping to India, at Rishikesh With Master Jumpers from New Zealand, place where it all began. Rishikesh Bungee was 83 Mtrs (240 Ft) 


Nine years ago, I couldn’t do it as I was recovering from a so-called facture. 
But, now Nine Years later when the second Bungee jump was coming up and is now up at Goa, Mayem Lake. I made my mind to do it. 


Day of Bungee:

We were twelve of us who were going to Bungy jump. I was slotted as the 10th Jumper. 
The excitement and the thrill to just fall off 165ft (55 Mtrs) that’s like falling from an Eighteen Storey Building was something I couldn’t wait for. And as we began walking towards the cliff (Platform) I began asking all the previous jumpers, What exactly happens? Do you get Jerks? Is it scary? As far as safety was concerned I did not have any doubts about it. The team had an experience of 80,000 jumps in the last decade in India itself. My concern was actually nothing. But, was just curious as I hadn’t experienced a fall from this height, Speed was something that I had always experienced. Sitting on roller coasters.
We finally reached the platform.
The Jumpers are all gearing up for their Jump the experienced jumpers from our lot too, were slightly nervous. And I was just wondering, Why can I not yet feel anything? So One by one everybody jumped. No, I really did not see anyone jump.

Now it was my turn. 


I was harnessed. And have gone through a double safety check and according to my weight, an elastic rope has been clipped to my feet. The Master Trainers are then aligning the rope according to my weight. 
Slowly, Slowly, I make my way to the edge. Here I was a little nervous, as the master kept telling me to move ahead, Where I thought if I move another step ahead, I would fall. Well, Yes that’s what I was there for but…
One of the trainers is instructing me to focus on the two trees out there, without looking down. 

And the moment had come 3…2…1… 
I Jumped, Not knowing where I was going to fall. The Re-bound (Hanging in the air for about a minute) Was more scary for me than being on the edge. Nevertheless, It has been one of the best experiences of my life so far and has earned me a certification that I’ve Got Guts!!! 
So if you too have Guts!!! Or want to challenge any of your friends,
Head to Goa or Rishikesh to Experience A Fall where you can Literally bounce Back. 

Check out the link below to know more about the where you can go for Bungee.

http://jumpinheights.com