Last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to attend the 16th Mumbai Film Festival, organized by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI). I was invited by HBO to be a part of the masterclass with acclaimed French actor Catherine Deneuve and Deepika Padukone, presented by Anupama Chopra.
MAMI organizes the Mumbai Film Festival with the intention to promote appreciation of good cinema, through exposure to the best of films the world has to offer. It aims to foster a climate of excellent movies stripped off all the limiting labels of art and commercial. HBO had partnered with the 16th edition of the Mumbai Film Festival to organize this session.
The festival was held at Cinemax Versova and I went with a friend/colleague. Upon reaching the venue, we were warmly welcomed by the organizing team. I must say the MAMI team has a helpful set of staff except for a few at the entrance who were not very cooperative at all. There were also quite a number of familiar faces out there; Hansal Mehta, Imran Khan, Sharad Kelkar and also a few well known media personnel and other celebrities. Overall, the aura was glamorous and there was a certain global feel to it. I was really thrilled.
The masterclass was supposed to be held at screen 3 and as soon as we entered the theatre, I saw media staff and editors mingling with each other in a pre-event interaction session. All of us settled down after a while and the well-awaited masterclass began. The idea behind choosing to attend a masterclass stemmed from the fact that I had always been a huge fan of Anupama’s “The Front Row” and I had seen a few masterclass sessions of the Film Companion initiated by her online. Naturally, the expectations were soaring high.
And luckily, it did surpass my expectations!
It was an absolute pleasure to watch Catherine Deneuve speaking about so many different aspects of cinema. I felt privileged to be part of a session that involved an actor of her caliber and stature, speaking so honestly about her experience. Catherine Deneuve, known for her iconic roles in films such as Repulsion, Belle de Jour, Tristana and more recently in Dancer in the Dark and 8 Women, was conferred with the Lifetime Achievement award at the festival. The festival has also screened a selection of her movies to pay a befitting tribute to this coveted film actor.
Deepika Padukone looked good in a red floral Varun Bahl jacket, white top and white pants. Anupama described her as the “Angelina Jolie” of Bollywood.
It was evident that the two actresses came from different industries with distinct sensibilities and varied experiences. They discussed women in the film industries, how they choose films, equations with film directors and whether box office results matter to them. My Opinion? Well, Catherine Deneuve did look intimidating. She was blunt, frank and I think she did make Deepika a little nervous. Nonetheless, her insights were invaluable. She was incredibly honest about her life, work and principles. Deepika, on the other hand, played it safe with her answers. Deepika represented today’s modern Indian actress but she seemed out of her elements. Her opinions were superficial but end of the day, those were her viewpoints and she’s completely entitled to them. Anupama played a good moderator.
On this occasion HBO India managing director, Monica Tata commented, “We are very excited to have partnered with the Mumbai Film Festival this year, which like our HBO Premium Channels showcases the best of cinema. This partnership will further highlight the proposition that we offer award-winning cinematic content to our consumers.”
Extracts from the interview can be found on these websites:
About HBO South Asia
HBO South Asia launched an ad-supported HBO service in 2000 in India, Pakistan, Maldives and Bangladesh. In 2013, two 24-hour commercial-free premium programming subscription channels – HBO Defined and HBO Hits, were launched in India. These two premium channels offer Indian audiences an unmatched home movie entertainment experience with a combination of Hollywood and Bollywood titles. Available in standard-definition and high-definition formats, both channels are subtitled in English and selected titles have dual language audio options of either English or Hindi. HBO is able to bring the best of Hollywood to India because of its licensing deals with major Hollywood studios. In addition to the proprietary and award-winning HBO Original programs that are produced exclusively for HBO viewers, HBO works with a large number of major independent production companies to secure exclusive rights to a host of quality movies. HBO South Asia is owned by HBO (a Time Warner company). HBO has won several Golden Globes®, Primetime Emmy® and Academy awards® for its original productions. HBO Asia is a joint venture of HBO (a Time Warner company) and Paramount.