Silent films with live orchestra at MAMI film festival

Mumbai: To mark the centenary of Indian cinema, the Mumbai Academy of Moving Images` (MAMI) film festival will screen nine silent films accompanied by a live orchestra.

"Not everybody is familiar with the era of silent cinema. No one knows how films were watched back then. Hence we have decided to showcase nine restored silent films with a live 18-piece orchestra during the festival with special music compositions," MAMI chairman Shyam Benegal told reporters here last evening.

"Altogether over 200 films will be shown among which nine will be silent Indian films," he said.

The week-long MAMI film festival, a Reliance Entertainment initiative, will start on October 18.
The nine surviving complete silent films of India have been restored for the film festival.

Two silent films `Shiraz` (1929) and `Throw Of Dice` (1929), directed by German-born filmmaker Franz Osten and starring Bombay Talkies` founder Himanshu Rai will be screened during the festival. The other films include Dhundiraj Govind Phalke`s `Kaliya Mardan` (1919) and PV Rao`s `Marthanda Varma` (1933).

The other highlight of the MAMI festival includes a special section on `Celebration of Italian Cinema`. "As a tribute to Italian cinema we will be screening Italian films from 1911 to 2010… starting from the silent era till now," Benegal said.

`Maciste` (1915), `Inferno` (1911), etc are some of the Italian films that have been restored in association with the Embassy of Italy for this section of the festival.

Also, there will be a competition section for Indian films with the cash reward of Rs 15 lakh.
"These films will be judged by the foreign award winning technicians and directors so that it will be a foreign jury looking at Indian films," Benegal said.

The main venue for the film festival has been shifted from the suburbs to the National Centre of Performing Arts and Inox theatre at Nariman Point. Also, filmmakers Anurag Kashyap and Sudhir Mishra have joined the MAMI board as trustees this year.