Malayalam film Sexy Durga will be released as Sexy Durga at MAMI Image: Twitter
It's that time of the year when cinephiles will make their annual pilgrimage to the Mumbai Academy of Moving Images, popularly known as MAMI. In its 19th edition, the Mumbai Film Festival once again boasts of screening stellar films from across the world at several cinema halls over a period of seven days.
As a regular festival goer (I've been going religiously for the last five years) the experience can be magical, or it can be a lot of standing around outside in the busy streets of Mumbai and ending up going home. I've had both experiences over the last few years of attending the festival. In preparation for this year's film festival, here are a few of the tips I've learnt through much trial-and-error.
For first-timers, here's what you need to know:
• This year's Mumbai Film Festival runs from October 12 to October 18.
• Film screenings, panel discussions, workshops and other events take place in venues scattered throughout Mumbai, including PVR High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel/Regal, Colaba (South Mumbai), PVR Market City, Kurla/PVR Mulund West (Central Mumbai), PVR Citi Mall, Andheri/PVR Icon Infiniti Mall, Andheri/La Reve, Bandra (Western Suburbs) and there's the iconic Regal Cinema in Colaba.
• You need to book movie tickets online in advance or at the venue to be able to watch a movie
How to see movies when you don’t have tickets:
If you want to see a film but don't have tickets, the waitlist is definitely worth trying. In fact, the waitlist is a classic part of MAMI and worth doing just for the experience (I've made a great many friends standing in the queue). If you want to try waitlisting, you'll have to get to the venue very early and stand till the bursar lets you in.
How to stay healthy:
It's important to understand that MAMI runs back-to-back films, and there's literally no time to catch a break in between. Continue drinking water and carry snacks or sandwiches with you unless you want to be eating movie hall popcorn for an entire week. A good night's sleep is also recommended because if you've booked yourself movies for an entire day, you're going to need a fresh mind to take all that cinematic energy in.
It's best not to bring a car to MAMI because of the crowd. Try using Ola and Uber shares to get back home. Public transport is the best when you're travelling from South Mumbai to Suburbs to catch a movie. It saves time immensely. Most of the venues are located close to train stations for getting by isn't a problem.
How to avoid crowds:
MAMI is perhaps the most popular film festival and it's absolutely packed, but only at certain times and on certain days. If you want to avoid crowds, get up early. Even during the weekend arrive at the venue as early as you can. Also try heading to the obscure venues — Thane, Kurla and Regal. Chances are you'll catch the movie you want at these locations instead of Andheri.
Another word of advice — charge your phones and carry battery packs. If you're watching films all day, your phone is likely to run out of battery at some point and you'll miss that important call from work.