'Dimensions Mumbai' is a competition on five minute films based on the city, as part of the ongoing MAMI film festival. The competition was open to people below 25 years, who in some way or the other should be associated with film media - students, assistant directors etc. The theme for the short films was Mumbai.
Twenty five such short-listed entries were screened yesterday at IMAX, Wadala. With a vast canvas like 'Mumbai' I was expecting films of different dimensions. But what I saw was a mish-mash of Mumbai shots with bad voice-overs and music. But for a few films, rest turned out to be duds. The screening commenced with a film called 'Breathless Mumbai' - All it had was a number of Mumbai shots - trains, vada paos, cars, taxis.... for a whole five minutes. What was the film-maker trying to convey? That Mumbai doesn't sleep?is breathless? so what's new? If that was what the film-maker wanted to say, it could have been said in a better way. .. not with those done-to-death train shots... puhleeez! Ditto, a film called 'When do I sleep?'... it appeared as if the film-maker had shot Mumbai with his mobile camera. Neither did it convey anything nor were the shots clear... it ended up giving me a bad headache.
And there were other films that spoke about the darker side of Mumbai. Some even tried fictionalizing it... 'Dhuan' - a film in true RGV style! Why why why? Why do you want to dress up a college dude in a suit, dark glasses with dialogues like "%^$%^$%& #^#$$*" [censored] and woah! there were "f#^#^ "subtitles for it. I have no problems bringing fiction into short films. For instance, 'This is Mumbai, my friend' - another short film. There was this guy who wakes up late, takes a train, gets to college, is late, gets chucked out of class, takes the train back and sulks on why Mumbai is so crowded... A voice-over says "This is Mumbai, my friend!" !!!! What was that? That way, 'Patri' was a better film. It had this guy falling in love with the female voice that announces the train timings in local stations. But the last scene spoilt the entire fun... This guy bumps into this girl sulking about her 'no-boyfriend' life, over the phone... and is happy that he found his dream love or something like that.. Gawd! How I wish he had chopped off the last scene! 'A handful of sky' , 'Suryast' , 'Sunday Holiday' were about the people of Mumbai - a girl with a pillow underneath her dress wanting to look pregnant, a mother of a teenager committing suicide not being able to cope with the Mumbai life etc. But not too impressive.
Are you guys missing the good ol' Films division documentaries that used to be screened in theatres? Worry not. Here were a bunch of film that started with a voice-over - "Mumbai... city of dreams!" wih stock shots of trains, cotton mills, sky scrapers and all the film spoke about was "Mumbai ek aisa sheher hain...."arrggh!! wake up guys! NDFC and Films division have aruttufyed us with the same trash for years now.
Having said that I must talk about a few films that were impressive. Unfortunately I don't remember the name of this film that had a series of food items that the waiter brings to a table and the song on the radio at the hotel shifts from Punjabi (punju food) to Bengali (roshogulla )to tamizh (dosai)to English (some angrezi khana) and finally to a vadapao with a "Mee marathi" song playing in the background from a radio. Hilarious, I say! It was very well thought of and brought out on screen. 'Aamchi Mumbai' was about people urinating on the Mumbai streets and roads.. well told! Though the story of 'Vaapsi' - a film about a struggling actor in Mumbai did not impress me much, it was well filmed. 'Mumbai is...' was most impressive with montage shots of different people - a BMC worker, college studs, chai wallahs, party junta talking about what Mumbai meant to them - right from a "Mumbai hamara hein..." to " Mumbai is sexy!" to the cliched` "Mumbai rocks!" . Certain responses were superb! Very well edited!
I am told the prize money for the winner is Rs.1,00,000, the two runners up get Rs.30,000 and Rs.20,000 respectively. The names will be announced tomorrow. I believe Mr. Govind Nihalani was part of the jury that selected 25 out of the 82 entries that they received for the competition. If this is the quality of the twenty five films, I can imagine the rest. With a broad canvas like 'Mumbai' the young film-makers could have conveyed things in a better way. Better luck next time guys!