India's 'Court' Wins at Mumbai Film Festival
The festival closed with the Brad Pitt-starrer 'Fury'
The 16th Mumbai Film Festival concluded Tuesday night with a star-studded awards ceremony. Director Chaitanya Tamhane's legal drama Court won the best film award in the international competition section, which honors the first film by a director. This is the first time an Indian film has won in this section.
Court also earned a best director nod and a special jury mention for its ensemble cast. At this year's Venice Film Festival, Court won the Lion of the Future award.
MFF's jury grand prize was given to Mexican film Gueros directed by Alonso Ruizpalacios. Martin Loizillon’s turn in the French film Fever won him the best actor award while best actress went to Israeli-actress Liron Ben-Shlush for her role in Next to Her.
Best cinematography went to Anthony “Tat” Radcliffe for the Northern Ireland-set historical drama 71.
The India Gold section saw director Bikas Ranjan Mishra's Chauranga winning best film. Killa, directed by Avinash Arun, won the second best film award in addition to a special jury award for its ensemble cast.
This year's international competition jury was headed by director Peter Webber (Girl With a Pearl Earring) along with Indian director Ritesh Batra (The Lunchbox), Canadian documentary film-maker Ron Mann and former Los Angeles County Museum of Art film curator Ian Birnie.
The awards ceremony was attended by some of Indian filmdom's A-listers such as top actor Aamir Khan and actresses Madhuri Dixit, Parineeti Chopra and Anushka Sharma, among others.
Organized by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Images, this year's festival was on the verge of being canceled due to a funding crunch after longtime sponsor Reliance Entertainment (owned by DreamWorks partner Reliance ADAG group) concluded its five-year sponsorship of the festival last year. With just over a month to go, MFF organizers launched a social media crowd-funding campaign with an aim to raise the festival's total budget of $826,000 and galvanized leading industry players to support the festival.
In an emotional speech, festival director Srinivasan Narayanan thanked supporters and contributors, stating, “For us at MAMI, the Almighty appeared in several forms... thank you all for making it possible, what appeared mission impossible 45 days back.”
“The problems the festival faced this year is a reminder of what this festival means to us and how much Mumbai needs to sustain it,” added Khan.
The ceremony concluded with a screening of the closing film Fury, directed by David Ayer which will release in India on Oct. 31 via distributor PVR Pictures.