The second edition of the Oxfam Best Film on Gender Equality Award 2017 kicked off with a star-studded Opening Night at the Jio MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival with Star 2017.
From left: Alankrita Shrivastava, rima Das, Tisca Chopra, Vasan Bala
The high-profile jury for this year announced the four shortlisted films, some which have got recognition and accolades at prominent film festivals abroad.
The first nominee is Village Rockstars, an Assamese film directed by Rima Das about a 10-year-old village girl who weaves dreams of owning a guitar while fighting her poverty and natural calamities.
Bornila Chatterjee’s The Hungry, a Hindi language film adapted from William Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus also made it to the nominations. The film is set in contemporary New Delhi, and though the extravagance of an Indian wedding, explores the role of the patriarch and corruption. The Hungry stars Naseeruddin Shah, Tisca Chopra, Neeraj Kabi, Arjun Gupta, Sayani, Antonio Aakeel and Suraj Sharma in lead roles.
Next is Granny (Ajji), a Hindi language film directed by Devashish Makhija, which tells the story of a frail grandmother who sets out to seek revenge for the rape of her granddaughter.
Checkmate (Turup), directed by Ektara Collective, is a Hindi language film set against the backdrop of the game of chess. A domestic worker with a secret hobby, a former journalist struggling with married life and a young woman in love, find themselves pushing boundaries and challenging the rules of the game.
The jury involved for the selection process of the shortlisted films includes renowned personalities from the Indian film circuit. Alankrita Shrivastava, an award-winning film director and screenwriter with a penchant for telling women’s stories whose film Lipstick Under My Burkha won the Oxfam Best Film on Gender Equality Award last year will be seen judging the shortlisted films for this year's award.
Vasan Bala who assisted filmmaker Anurag Kashyap on films like Dev.D (2009) and Gangs of Wasseypur (2012) and worked with Michael Winterbottom on Trishna (2011), is part of the jury. He directed feature film Peddlers (which was in Cannes Critics’ Week in 2012), co-wrote Raman Raghav 2.0 and Bombay Velvet. He is currently dabbling in advertising.
The third jury member is Gayatri. After trying her hand at ad filmmaking and a couple of shorts, Gayatri who holds an MFA in filmmaking from Northwestern University, Chicago, co-wrote and co-directed the critically-acclaimed, Oram Po (aka Auto, 2007). Her most recent project is Vikram Vedha (2017), a modern take on the Vikram and Betal tales of yore, set in the contemporary world of gangsters and cops.