2014 is the year that Bollywood helps Mumbai Film Festival turn sexy

Film, they say, is a labour of love but the un-creative business of organising a film festival can be a labour of love too. Earlier this year, the Mumbai Film Festivalturned to the city’s film lovers with a plea for financial support and fittingly for the country’s film capital, the response was like something out of a blockbuster’s script. The hashtag “Pledge4MAMI” saw enormous response from people who were determined to ensure MFF happened in 2014 and most encouragingly for the festival organisers, Bollywood rallied for MFF even though the festival is not a platform for commercial cinema.

In just a few years, MFF has established itself as one of the best film festivals in Asia. Year after year, the organisers have brought to Mumbai some of the finest examples of world cinema, ranging from prize winners to lesser-known indie films that have made critics do a delighted double take. Traditionally, makers and lovers of masala films have rarely been part of film festivals, but in 2014, MFF looks ready to bring the two strains together.

Film critic Anupama Chopra, Creative Director for the festival this year and chief campaigner for MFF’s survival, believes that the ‘art versus masala’ divide in Indian cinema doesn’t really apply to what’s happening in the industry today. “You can’t have a film festival in Mumbai by leaving Bollywood out of it,” said Chopra, pointing out that the actors and filmmakers who have been promoting and supporting MFF needed no prompting to do so. “They came to me and asked, ‘What can I do?’ and they got involved in every way they can.” Which is why this year, MFF has a promo, made by Shakun Batra, featuring the likes of Sonakshi Sinha, Varun Dhawan, Arjun Kapoor and Siddharth Malhotra.

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