13th Mumbai Film Festival (MFF) 2011 - Part-2

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Credibility Lost On Inaugural Day

As reported earlier, a weeklong 13th edition of the MAMI Organized MFF will be at the sprawling six multiplex screens of Cinemax Versova from 13th evening till 20th Oct. evening. In the “Curtain Raiser” press conference, a few days back, many new “Improvements” were promised. That Mami’s Festivals are improving year after year in deliverance, quality content and Management. And that this 13th MFF is going to be on top as a BENCH MARK for “Bests” in India. Well, time will tell that. Perhaps the “Content” viz; the standard of International film entries, prima facie are looking to be the best than in the past. But in other aspects, deliverance has to be seen. As for the ‘Management’, we are aware that since it was taken over by India’s biggest entertainment conglomerate Reliance BIG Entertainment three years back, lack of funds and resources was never a problem. But what certainly was found amiss was the management, administration and deliverance. Whatever may be the reasons or impediments, it is not expected from any Private but reputed, much less from a Public Organization that, whatever is promised is not fulfilled.

For last three years, except for the last year, Festival Catalogue and screening schedule, was not given in advance or on inaugural day (Media is grateful that a soft copy of schedule was sent in advance this year on E-mail). And in “Inaugural or Closing Functions (including film screening)” the “Accreditated Media” in entirety was never invited or allowed. The policy of ‘pick and choose’ has been rampant and discretionary.

In view of this past practice, a specific question was asked in the press conference as to the policy this year if the entire Accreditated media will be invited to cover the “Inaugural and Closing Functions” or not. And there was a specific “Yes” from the head of R Big Entertainment. In anticipation, therefore, yours truly had phoned the “Press Desk” of MAMI a day in advance when the media will get the “Invite” as a part of this year’s policy. He informed that as per prevailing Festival norms, it will be given on the Inaugural day. When I reached there 90 minutes in advance and asked for the ‘Invite’ , the answer was “We do not know anything”. When requested, a senior person phoned the PRO. Answer was conveyed that “My card has also been handed over to one guy, but if I have not received it, the PRO will herself give when she comes to the venue. When at 5 p.m. I was informed that the PRO has reached the venue. I phoned her and asked the ‘status’. Reply was “Sorry, I do not have any card left with me. And frankly, since your name was not in the list, no card has been kept. But you may see the inaugural film on the basis of your press ID at 9-30 p.m in Screen no 4”. Matter ended there.

None got the Festival Catalogue or the hard copy of screening schedule, though it was announced by the Festival Director that form 11 th October onwards, it will be available at the venue (Cinemax).

Thanks to the Organizers that at least I have been given a media accreditation, which is otherwise, too an entire ‘discretionary’ matter. Since the ‘Media ethics’ demand, the facts are reported.

Written by: 

Mohan Siroya


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