October 20, 2017

'Village Rockstars' Steals the Show at MAMI Festival

Assamese filmmaker Rima Das’ Village Rockstars took home multiple awards at the Jio MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival recently. The festival's India Gold section, which honors homegrown films, saw ‘Village Rockstars’ picking up the Golden Gateway award. The film, which premiered at Toronto, also won the Young Critics Choice Award and the Best Film on gender equality, awarded by the charitable organization Oxfam India.

‘Village Rockstars’ director Rima Das got emotional and said people thought she was ‘mad’ while she was making the film but now she will have a “very happy Diwali.”

“I will be grateful to MAMI and jury for the award. Specially my children. They believed in me for four years, and never questioned me. Most of the people thought I was mad. But my family believed in me. I struggled for 8 years, looking for an acting job in Mumbai. My family was with me. They produced two of my films,” she said.

For Rima Das, who has been inspired by directors, both from India and around the world, like Andrei Tarkovsky, Ingmar Bergman, Satyajit Ray and many more, the biggest challenge was overcoming self-doubt. “I just followed my instincts. Ultimately, it’s not about technique, it’s about an emotional connection,” she added.

The film is a sweet little story about a young girl Dhunnu  with a big dream - to buy a guitar and form a rock band. Das weaves in multiple layers around this compelling coming of age narrative to paint an authentic picture of life in a small village.

Rina Soni, Director of Oxfam India, said: "Globally, women seldom get fair credit and recognition for their work. There's no shortage of talented female filmmakers out there, they just need a platform to shine.”

"Village Rockstars' deserves the award as it brings on screen the story of hope and aspirations of a young girl fighting inequality and disasters.

The 19th edition of the festival showcased over 220 films from 49 countries in 51 languages. Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Mukkabaaz’ opened the festival while Hansal Mehta’s ‘Omerta’ was the closing film.

The award ceremony was attended by celebrities like Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor, Kabir Khan, Anurag Kashyap, Rajkumar Hirani, Hansal Mehta, Kiran Rao, Ashutosh Gowariker, Rajkummar Rao, Sudhir Mishra, Kriti Kharbanda, Tanishtha Chatterjee among others.

The evening was hosted by actor Sayani Gupta and Radhika Apte. Festival Director Anupama Chopra who closed the ceremony with a final word on this year’s film festival announced that the next edition of the MAMI will be from October 25 to November 1, 2018.

Prantik Deka