The duo is joined by Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Rajkumar Hirani, Karan Johar, Chaitanya Tamhane and festival director Anupama Chopra in a short film which calls for entries from young filmmakers.
This year, in an effort to make the 17th edition of the Mumbai Film Festival (MAMI) the country's biggest film event, the organising committee has come up with brainwave--a 60-second short, with a 30 second cut, calling for entries from young filmmaker. The short boasts of the star power of Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, and also features filmmakers Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Rajkumar Hirani, Chaitanya Tamhane and film critic Anupama Chopra. It will release digitally on May 18 and play in PVR theatres from the first week of June.
Anupama, who is also the festival director, describes this film as one of the many miracles that is enabling this festival to survive and thrive.
"Four production houses, artistes and crew gave us their talent and time free of cost and made this happen," she informs.
Priyanka Ghose, who came up with a script overnight and directed the film, shot for five days over a couple of weeks to get the conversational bites she wanted from these B'town A-listers. She spent another two-three days to edit and set it to music. The support of four major production houses made the job easier.
"It's not a gimmicky film, it's hand-held, vox-populish and gets into real space. I've invaded homes, sets and even Karan's cabin which no one is allowed to enter, to capture my 'stars' in their day-today life. And returned with lots of interesting takes and tales," smiles Priyanka who recalls how Alia was reluctant to take off the cap she was wearing because it would reveal the new hairstyle she sports in an upcoming film. "So we changed the lighting to ensure that the cap did not cast a shadow on her face."
The Chopras are experts at giving interviews and rock-solid opinions, so filming them was easy. But Priyanka had to chat up Raju Hirani, whom she describes as a 'sweet, humble introvert', before the shoot so he wouldn't look like he was 'acting' on screen.
"Karan was a huge surprise. I'd gone to him with a prepared script and ideas I wanted to plant in his head, but he had his own ideas about what he wanted to say and gave me a crash-course in filmmaking," she laughs.
Says the actor-filmmaker, "It's important for the city, which mothers a large part of Indian cinema, to have a festival of its own. MAMI is the largest platform endeavouring to spread the power of cinema through this city of dreams."
Ranbir and Ali too, being actors, knew exactly what Priyanka was looking for. She has five versions of the five takes she took and has used all of them in the film. "It was bizarre to see RK, a huge star and a brilliant actor, industriously rehearsing and practising his reactions before I called for 'Action'," she reminisces.
Chaitanya Tamhane whose film, Court, was adjudged Best Film in the International Competition section of MAMI in 2014, going on to win the National Award for Best Film, urges young filmmakers to showcase their works at the festival, insisting that for him MAMI is a window to the best of world cinema amidst a celebratory atmosphere and an infectious spirit.
"It's that one week in a year where film lovers from not just Mumbai, but all over India, flock to the festival venues like kids in a candy store. One is almost spoilt for choices with such a diverse and exquisite selection of films, and that too for the minimal cost of an all access pass," he points. "I think of myself as a perennial film student, and MAMI is one of the best film schools out there."