Manhattan Short Film Festival held at Mumbai

The celebrity jury and guests alike could not stop talking about the superb quality of the ten finalist films screened at the Manhattan Short Film Festival (MSFF) at Amadeus at the NCPA, Nariman Point, Mumbai on the evening of Wednesday September 28, 2011. For the second time, the MSFF hit Mumbai shores, brought to Mumbai by BMW Infinity Cars and Carilite, and once again, left the audience breathless with its outstanding line up of short films from across the world.

The MSFF prides itself on having a collection of some of the best short films in the world selected by everyday people. Keeping that tradition in mind, filmmakers and festival directors S. Ramachandran and Anil Sadarangani ensured that the audience (also the jury) comprised of a perfect balance of people from all walks of life to judge the winner from the ten films screened.

Film buffs from the festival circuit, society regulars, Bollywood professionals, media persons, professionals from the corporate and advertising sector and lovers of cinema gathered to soak in the short fiction films at their best.

As wine and cheese circulated among the select invitees, some of the known and recognizable jury audience included actress and producer Pooja Bhatt, who was accompanied by her actor husband Munish Makhija and screenwriter of films like Murder 2 Shagufta Rafique. “This is my first short film festival, otherwise people send us DVDs of their short films. This is very different from others and I like this concept. The variety of films was very different from others,” said Pooja. She also added, “It was uplifting, it was filled with talent and a wonderful experience for me. This is a festival that’s a movement taking place globally and I will be back next year.”

After watching the caliber of the films, Pooja was all praises and said, “I think it is very hard to make a short film. When people ask me why I don’t work, I say that I don’t want to be in the rat race and I need a good script. I am inspired after watching these films and maybe next year, I will make a film.”

India’s first Oscar winner, Bhanu Athaiya, now a regular supporter of the MSFF, said she loved the films and was once again impressed by the quality of the finalist films at the festival. “Although I found it tough to judge the films as they were all fantastic, I loved the film David and Goliath. I am inspired to make my short film very soon after seeing these excellent films at the Manhattan Short,” she said.

Actor producer Viveck Vaswani was also all praises for the films at the festival. “We have lot of short films being made in India too. There are no restrictions in making short films, they are not expensive, I have acted in a lot of short films as well. The exposure is good and filmmakers who make shorts get exposure to get right films financers. Through short films, people recognize your work and opportunities come your way,” he said.

Actor Nirav Mehta, who became famous after he acted in the film Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na as ‘Jignesh’, was also impressed with the finalist films screened at the MSFF this year. “I loved it, the films were good. My favorites were I Love Luci and Incident At Bank. The stories and the directors were inspiring,” said Nirav. When asked if he would act in a short film, he said, “No one has asked me to do so till now. Maybe I will do one.”

Businesswoman Roohi Jaikishen came directly from work and was blown away by the films. “I wanted to bring my husband and now after seeing the films, I want him to see them too because I know he’ll like them,” she said. Life coach Chhaya Momaya had only planned to sit for a short time but after seeing just two films, she got engrossed and decided to watch all the films. She told Anil, “I wanted to leave soon but the films were so good that I decided to stay till the end and watch them all.” Interior architect Nisha Jamvwal was there to lend support as well and said, “I just came back from Washington and there was no way I was going to miss the Manhattan Short.”

Other famous personalities who voted for their best film included Ayaz Memon, Kiran Shantaram, Uma DaCunha, Teejay Sidhu, Farid Currim, debutant filmmaker Ajay Jain and German Consul General to Mumbai Dr. Leopold-Theodore Heldman and his wife. Guests were treated to some delectable hors’ d’oeuvres in the break as they mingled and admired the sleek BMW SUV parked at the venue.