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Film festivals rope in mainstream actors

Actor Deepika Padukone has been appointed as the new chairperson of MAMI film festival after filmmaker Kiran Rao stepped down. Experts give their views.

bollywood Updated: Mar 26, 2019 13:31 IST
Anurag Singh Bohra
Anurag Singh Bohra
Hindustan Times
Deepika Padukone,film festival,Gajraj Rao
Deepika Padukone has been chosen as the new MAMI chairperson, becoming the first mainstream Bollywood actor to head a film festival body.((Photo: Instagram_@deepikapdukone))

After professional commitments forced filmmaker Kiran Rao to step down from her position as chairperson of Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI), actor Deepika Padukone was voted as her successor in January. It’s the first time a mainstream Bollywood actor has been chosen for heading a film festival body, and the industry is excited. Both experts and celebs see it as a welcome change and feel that Deepika’s appointment might pave the way for more mainstream figures in influential positions.

A welcome move for Bollywood

MAMI director and film critic Anupama Chopra says, “Deepika graciously accepted it when the MAMI board put it to her that we would like her to be the chairperson. So, we’re all very happy with her appointment. Deepika has also been on our board of trustees for a few years.” Actor Gajraj Rao feels Padukone’s appointment as the new chairperson would benefit the organisation in the long run. “In the past few years, MAMI has done some amazing work towards the betterment of Hindi cinema,” says Rao.

“I have full faith that a sensible actor and person like Deepika will take MAMI’s popularity to the next level,” he adds.

Actor Gajraj Rao feels that Deepika’s appointment would take MAMI’s popularity to the next level . ( (Photo: Raajessh Kashyap/ Hindustan Times) )

Mainstream Actors Attract Wider Audience

Actor Rohit Roy opines that it’s usually been a film director or producer for heading a film festival body. But with Padukone’s appointment — a young mainstream star who’s presently relevant will be heading MAMI — Roy is optimistic “I’m sure under the discerning eye of an award winning actor like Deepika, the festival will reach out further and attract a wider selection of world cinema,” he says.

Actor Rohit Roy is optimistic that a young mainstream star like Padukone who’s presently relevant would be heading MAMI. ( (Photo: Yogen Shah) )

Need To Connect With Youngsters

Anupama Chopra feels that film festivals need to be forward-looking and it is, therefore, important for them to connect with the youth. She says, “We are in an age where the entire entertainment business is going through reinvention. When people have any film of their choice on their phones, then you’ve to connect with them and say, this is why we need to have a film festival (and not watch films on their smartphones). So, it’s very important to connect with young people and get them to come to film festivals. That’s what will keep the festival flourishing into the next 20 years. MAMI has completed its 20 years in 2018. I think Deepika’s connect with the youth will definitely go a long way in enabling the same.”

MAMI director and film-critic Anupama Chopra says that Padukone’s appointment would be helpful in connecting with youngsters. ( (Photo: Yogen Shah) )

No, She’s Not Going To Be Working Daily

Given the fact that, Padukone is going to be super busy with projects, there is a concern about her commitment to the position of the chairperson of the film festival.

However, Chopra says, “We don’t expect her to be sitting at the MAMI office every day, as that’s not the role of a chairperson. She’s not going to be hands-on the day-to-day running of the festival but she’s always been extremely supportive. We have worked with her already for few years and it will be more of the same.”

Asked about the work tenure of Padukone, Chopra says, “There’s no term condition put in Deepika’s appointment.”

First Published: Mar 26, 2019 13:30 IST