Magazine article Screen International

Bollywood Turns out for Mumbai Fest Opening

Magazine article Screen International

Bollywood Turns out for Mumbai Fest Opening

Article excerpt

Bollywood stars including Akshay Kumar and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan turned out for the opening of the Mumbai Film Festival (October 14-21), which is celebrating its 16th edition despite almost being shut down a few months ago due to lack of funding.

Saved through donations from filmmakers, stars, industrialists and audience members, the festival put on a glittering opening night ceremony at the historical Chandan Cinema in Mumbai's Juhu district.

Almost losing the festival appears to have convinced the Bollywood fraternity to show unprecedented levels of support. Sponsors and partners including HBO, Rentrak, Pinkerton, Bajaj Group and Mahindra Rise have also recently come on board the event.

Kalki Koechlin played compere for the evening, while Rai Bachchan inaugurated the festival and Kumar presented a lifetime achievement to veteran Bollywood diva Helen. Rai Bachchan and industrialist Niraj Bajaj also presented Catherine Deneuve with a lifetime achievement award.

Also present in the audience were stars such as Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Sanjay Suri and Rahul Bose; filmmakers Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Raj Kumar Hirani and Anurag Kashyap; and industry figures such as PVR Cinemas' Ajay and Sanjeev Bijli, UTV founder Ronnie Screwvala and UTV studio head Siddharth Roy Kapoor.

Susanne Bier's Serena, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, played as the opening film.

The evening kicked off with a speech from Shyam Benegal, chairman of the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI), which organises the festival. …

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