After professional commitments forced filmmaker Kiran Rao to step down from her position as chairperson of Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI), actor Deepika Padukone was voted as her successor in January. It’s the first time a mainstream Bollywood actor has been chosen for heading a film festival body, and the industry is excited. Both experts and celebs see it as a welcome change and feel that Deepika’s appointment might pave the way for more mainstream figures in influential positions.
A welcome move for Bollywood
MAMI director and film critic Anupama Chopra says, “Deepika graciously accepted it when the MAMI board put it to her that we would like her to be the chairperson. So, we’re all very happy with her appointment. Deepika has also been on our board of trustees for a few years.” Actor Gajraj Rao feels Padukone’s appointment as the new chairperson would benefit the organisation in the long run. “In the past few years, MAMI has done some amazing work towards the betterment of Hindi cinema,” says Rao.
“I have full faith that a sensible actor and person like Deepika will take MAMI’s popularity to the next level,” he adds.
Mainstream Actors Attract Wider Audience
Actor Rohit Roy opines that it’s usually been a film director or producer for heading a film festival body. But with Padukone’s appointment — a young mainstream star who’s presently relevant will be heading MAMI — Roy is optimistic “I’m sure under the discerning eye of an award winning actor like Deepika, the festival will reach out further and attract a wider selection of world cinema,” he says.
Need To Connect With Youngsters
Anupama Chopra feels that film festivals need to be forward-looking and it is, therefore, important for them to connect with the youth. She says, “We are in an age where the entire entertainment business is going through reinvention. When people have any film of their choice on their phones, then you’ve to connect with them and say, this is why we need to have a film festival (and not watch films on their smartphones). So, it’s very important to connect with young people and get them to come to film festivals. That’s what will keep the festival flourishing into the next 20 years. MAMI has completed its 20 years in 2018. I think Deepika’s connect with the youth will definitely go a long way in enabling the same.”
No, She’s Not Going To Be Working Daily
Given the fact that, Padukone is going to be super busy with projects, there is a concern about her commitment to the position of the chairperson of the film festival.
However, Chopra says, “We don’t expect her to be sitting at the MAMI office every day, as that’s not the role of a chairperson. She’s not going to be hands-on the day-to-day running of the festival but she’s always been extremely supportive. We have worked with her already for few years and it will be more of the same.”
Asked about the work tenure of Padukone, Chopra says, “There’s no term condition put in Deepika’s appointment.”