Sir Ian McKellen, the English Shakespearean actor who is best known for playing Gandalf in the filmed adaptation of The Lord Of The Rings and Magneto in the X-Men movies, is coming to Mumbai next week.
He will be part of two events: one, on May 23, where he will be in conversation with Aamir Khan at the 1000-seater Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, part of the National Centre for Performing Arts in south Mumbai. The next day, at the same venue, he will be introducing a screening of Richard III, performed by the Royal National Theatre, in which he plays the lead role.
These events are the first initiative of the newly formed MAMI Film Club, the brainchild of the team running the current Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, which were organised in conjunction with the British Film Institute (BFI) and the British Council. "There's no doubt that seven days a year simply isn't enough," says the festival's creative director Smriti Kiran, in a phone conversation with HuffPost India. "We realised we needed to engage the 5,000-6,000 people who come for the fest through the whole year as well."
They first started thinking about this in November last year, just after the 17th edition of the festival ended. The idea was to do a mixture of events — conversations, film screenings, workshops, and masterclasses — on a regular basis. "We scrapped those two-day workshops last year because it really isn't enough time for someone to truly grasp what's happening," she says.
The plan is to do one such event a month, as far as possible. Kiran is quick to add that it won't always be an international film personality; they could also have masterclasses with the likes of, say, Vishal Bharadwaj and Nagraj Manjule. "The idea is to always do things that are relevant and interesting," she says. "If we don't find something that meets those standards, we just won't do it."
The MAMI Film Club will, for the time being, be restricted to film lovers in Mumbai. However, over the course of the next year, Kiran says they would like to spread to other cities across the country.
The 76-year-old veteran actor, who is on his first visit to the city, will also be flagging off the LGBTQ-themed Kashish Film Festival 2016, which begins on May 26. In a press statement, he said: "For too many years, gay characters appeared in films only as comic relief, as often as not meeting a sticky end, as if that’s all they deserved. Increasingly, in India too, the film industry has matured, treating gay people with the same seriousness as straight characters. I look forward at Kashish to discovering more about Bollywood’s film-makers who reject fantasy for the truth about gay people."
How to register for the MAMI Film Club
Click here and sign up. Registration to the club is free, but members will also be required to register separately to gain free and preferential entry to certain events.
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