Eros International’s ‘Aligarh’, the latest film from National award-winning filmmaker Hansal Mehta, has been selected as the opening film at the 17th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival on October 30th 2015. This pivotal film marks the first time that a Hindi film will open the festival since 1997, the inaugural year of the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival.
Set in a small town in Uttar Pradesh from which the film takes its name, ‘Aligarh’ is the story of a professor (Manoj Bajpayee) fired for his sexuality and a young journalist (Rajkummar Rao) who tells his story to the world. Based on true events, the film follows Dr. S R Siras, a professor at the Aligarh Muslim University who, when discovered to be homosexual, was fired from his position. The film depicts the unlikely friendship between Dr. Siras and a reporter investigating his first big story, a relationship that will change them both forever.
Aligarh has been selected to screen at the 20th Busan International Film Festival in South Korea and the 59th BFI London Film Festival, this October. This will mark the first time in almost two decades that a Hindi film will open the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival.
“I am overjoyed that Aligarh, my first film about a city other than Mumbai is the opening film of the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival. This is a befitting reward for a team that has worked selflessly to make a film they are passionate about. This festival holds a very special place in my heart as it began a journey of awards for Shahid which was until then an unheralded dark horse in a year of sparkling indies. We (Eros International, my team and me) are looking forward to the night and to sharing this special film with the amazing MAMI audience,” said Hansal Mehta, who won the National Award for Best Direction in 2013 with his critically acclaimed Shahid.
Producer Sunil Lulla, Managing Director, Eros International added, “We are delighted at the selection of Aligarh for this recognition at a significant film platform like Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival. This strengthens our belief at Eros International in backing the vision of directors like Hansal who tell meaningful, humane stories through their films.”
Upon announcing the decision to open the festival with Aligarh, Anupama Chopra, Festival Director, said, “Aligarh is a powerful film that tells an important story on a sensitive subject. Hansal Mehta has a unique ability to tell uncommon human stories on the celluloid screen. Our mission is to showcase exciting and thought-provoking stories and I am sure our audience will enjoy our festival opener.”
Hansal Mehta’s illustrious career began in television, where he directed the cooking show Khana Khazana (1993–2000) starring Sanjeev Kapoor. Mehta made his feature film debut with Jayate (1999), which screened at the International Film Festival of India in Hyderabad as part of the Indian Panorama (1999-2000). He followed up his debut with the cult hit Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar in 2000, and spent the next decade making feature length and short films. He is best known for his moving biopic Shahid in 2013. The film, starring Rajkummar Rao, chronicles the life of Shahid Azmi, a human rights lawyer murdered in 2010. Mehta and Rao continued to collaborate in Mehta’s next film, City Lights, an adaptation of Metro Manila, a British independent film.
The 17th Jio MAMI’s Mumbai Film Festival will be held in Mumbai from October 29th to November 5th 2015. The film screenings will take place at PVR Versova, PVR Citi Mall, Andheri, PVR LP, Phoenix Mills and Regal – Colaba. To attend the festival, viewers can register online at http://in.bookmyshow.com/mami/ or visit registration counters at the festival venues listed above.
Along with Chairperson Kiran Rao and Festival Director Anupama Chopra, the members of the new Board of Trustees of MAMI are Filmmakers Farhan Akhtar, Karan Johar and Vikramaditya Motwane, Actors Riteish Deshmukh and Deepika Padukone, Mr. Anand Mahindra, Chairman & MD, The Mahindra Group, Mr. Ajay Bijli, Chairman and MD, PVR Ltd, Mr. Siddharth Roy Kapur, MD, Disney and Mr. Manish Mundra, Founder and CEO, Drishyam Films. These eminent personalities, outstanding achievers in their respective fields, are bringing together their expertise and experience to give Mumbai and India a bigger, better and even more exciting 17th edition of the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival.