In October, Mumbaiites will relive a century-old cinema viewing experience.
To mark the centenary of Indian cinema, this year’s Mumbai Academy of Moving Images’ (MAMI) film festival will screen two restored silent films accompanied by a live orchestra. “We all are not familiar with the era of silent cinema. No one knows how films were watched back then. Therefore we will showcase two silent films with a live 18-piece orchestra during the festival with special music compositions,” said Shyam Benegal, chairman, MAMI.
Nine of India’s surviving complete silent films have been restored for the festival. The two that will be screened during the weeklong festival, which begins on October 18, are directed by Franz Osten and starring Bombay Talkies’ founder Himanshu Rai — Shiraz (1929) and Throw Of Dice (1929). The other films include Dhundiraj Govind Phalke’s Kaliya Mardan (1919) and PV Rao’s Marthanda Varma (1933).
The main venue for the festival has been shifted from the suburbs to the National Centre of Performing Arts and Inox theatre at Nariman Point. “Space will not be a constraint, as a result there will be many more activities taking place around the venue,” said Amit Khanna, chief executive officer, Reliance Entertainment, co-organisers of the festival.
The festival highlights also include a special section on ‘Celebration of Italian Cinema’. “We will be screening Italian films from 1911 to 2010; starting from the silent era,” said Benegal.
Maciste (1915) and Inferno (1911) are some of the Italian films that have been restored in association with the Embassy of Italy for this section of the festival.
The film selection process for the festival is still in progress as the organisers have more than 800 films to choose from. “All major award winning films from festivals such as Cannes and Berlin have been confirmed so far,” said Khanna.