Midway through Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF – 2016), the festival Director, Mukesh Sharma and the Brand Ambassador, Jackie Shroff met the press on Monday, 1st February, 2016 at the Media Centre in the Films Division Complex.
“I am delighted to see that large numbers of viewers are sitting in our halls and watching documentary, short & animation films from around the world,” began Sharma. “We faced several hurdles in organising MIFF 2016, but the energy that is floating around is highly encouraging. I assure you that the next (15th) MIFF will be an even more pleasurable experience, once the film hub, currently under construction in this very complex, is ready. Instead of multiple venues, currently, we will accommodate 2000 viewers under one roof.”
Jackie Shroff shared that he was delighted to be among ideators and film makers from all over the world. Having worked in mainstream commercial cinema for 33 years, he said he is entering a new phase in his life. “It made me feel so happy when students who are part of the workshops at MIFF greeted me this morning with ‘Happy Birthday to You’. Yes, it is my birthday today, and guess what new step I took on this day? I attended a workshop on animation screenplay writing (conducted by Luca Raffaeli of Italy and moderated by award winning India animator Dhvani Desai) Animation has always fascinated me, and I hope to make some animation films someday. ”
Confirming his enthusiasm, Sharma said besides performing his duties as brand ambassador, Jackie has been watching films too. To avoid over enthusiastic fans disrupting screenings, he sneaks in when the lights are off, sits right at the back and sneaks out again before the lights come on. Asked whether he has had much interaction with audiences, Jackie replied in the negative. “So many of them want photos, selfies & autographs, that leaves little time to talk.”
Replying to a question about what could be done to improve MIFF, he said, “That is for the administrators to decide. But I would be very happy to see it become an annual event, like every other film festival in the city. A biennial festival is just not the same thing. IFFI (International Film Festival of India) at Goa is exciting too, but to me, Mumbai & Goa are the same. The synergy is the same. Both are island cities, and I love them both. We should make India shine, whatever the venue. Let us become examples of hospitality to all the delegates of the world. Let us sketch success stories of oneness every year. Instead of finding faults, let us support those who work hard to make these events successful.”
Sharma then paid a compliment to Jackie, that, he insisted was richly deserved. “Jackie’s presence has boosted our morale tremendously. He added that ripple that became a wave of energy.” Asked if the festival could be extended by a few days, since there was so much happening, Sharma responded by saying that it was not likely with the present infrastructure, which was really strained to manage the present duration, “but the point is taken”, he assured.
A surprise lay in store for Jackie Shroff, as the MIFF 2016 organisers presented him with birthday cake, which he gladly cut, and even posed for photographs & selfies with media persons. MIFF 2016, began on 28th Jan, 2016 and will end on 03rd Feb, 2016.