The closing ceremony of the 12th Mumbai Film Festival organised by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Images was yet another fiasco, just like the opening ceremony.
The tiny font on the envelopes that carried the names of the awardees left most Bollywood filmmakers, who were also the presenters, fumbling for their glasses on stage. To add to the difficulty, they were even left to read the citations, which ideally, by public demand, should have been the host’s — Fardeen Khan and Raima Sen — job.
The hosts forgot to announce a few runners-up categories of the award sections altogether. “It would get boring without a little confusion don’t you think,” said Fardeen Khan, after realising his error.
The event that was scheduled to start at 5pm and eventually began at 7.30 pm. “After the opening ceremony, we expected the closing ceremony at least to start on time. But… alas,” said Shyam Benegal, the chairman of the festival, as he addressed the event.
The function culminated with the presentation of the two Golden Gateway of India presents Lifetime Achievement Awards for Creative Excellence in Cinema to actor-filmmaker Manoj Kumar and filmmaker-screenwriter Oliver Stone. Both the artistes were greeted with standing ovations. Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Suhasini Mani Ratnam presented the award to Kumar, while Yash Chopra and Jane Campion did the honours for Stone.
In his speech, Kumar congratulated the festival and its organisers for having “done a marvelous job in supporting cinema”. Kumar took the audience back in time to when Bollywood completed 25 years. “There was a huge celebration at Kala Ghoda. Prithvi Raj Kapoor was among the many stars present. He spotted someone in the audience and brought him on to the stage. That someone was the father of Indian cinema, Dadasaheb Phalke. And Phalkesir said, ‘take care of my Shakuntala,’ and today when I see this festival, I can see his Shakuntala is being taken good care of,” added Kumar.
Kumar said, “When Oliver Stone came to India he was Oliver Stone. But now he is a priceless stone.”
Stone kept his speech short. “I came to to Kolkata long ago to learn about another way of thinking and another way of life. I returned many times and learnt many things from here. Your culture is great and you make great films,” he said.
The Award for the Jury Grand Prize was presented to the film ‘R’ directed by Michael Noer and Tobias Lindholm.