Filmmaker Zoya Akhtar feels film festivals like Jio MAMI give a perspective to filmmakers rather than act as a reality check.
Asked if film festivals acted as a reality check for busy mainstream filmmakers who often tend to miss out on what’s happening around in the world of films, she said: “I wouldn’t call it a reality check. I will call it a perspective. As filmmakers, we are storytellers because first of all we are an audience, too. We watch films, we like watching the work of other people. We enjoy that process, and that is why we become filmmakers. So, more than a reality check, festivals provide a perspective for sure.”
Zoya Akhtar was interacting with the media at the the Jio MAMI 21st Mumbai Film Festival with Star on Tuesday. Also [present at the press meet were filmmakers Vishal Bharadwaj, Rohan Sippy, and Siddharth Roy Kapoor, besides Smriti Kiran, the artistic director of Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival.
The eight-day festival will showcase 190 films, including over 50 debuts, 13 world premieres, from 53 countries and in 49 languages.
Adding to Zoya’s statement Vishal Bhardwaj said: “When you watch a good film, it makes you envious and it gives energy to you to work more on yourself. To watch films on the big screen is a different experience altogether. Last year we watched ‘Roma’ (2018) at MAMI and then again, I watched it on Netflix. The experiences were completely different.”
Over the past few years, it has been observed that Indian filmmakers are making films that are edgy and bold. They are increasingly taking risks. “I don’t think there is any rule. You can’t approach something thinking I am going to do something different or I am going to do something that hasn’t been done before. I think that would be a recipe for disaster,” Zoya said, commenting on this issue, adding: “I think you have to take a story that has moved you in some way and transmit that in the most honest way possible. I think the audience today is open to self-reflection and honesty, so that has helped newer stories to come out.”
Zoya had recently said that filmmakers nowadays don’t need big stars for films to be hits. Does she feel “Gully Boy” would have been such a big hit without Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt? “I really don’t know, but having said that I don’t mean that you don’t need actors, stars or anything. It really depends on what you are doing, what you are telling, what your budget is, to whom you are are selling your film, and where they fit in. I think any story — whether its a big-budget or small-budget project — needs a strong concept, with or without stars. Nowadays, you don’t need a camera. You can make a film on a phone, so the whole game has changed. It is not just about stars anymore.”
The 21st edition of MAMI, sponsored by Reliance Jio and Star, will be held from October 17 to 24.