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Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, interacted with a group of 12 postgraduate students of Media Education Research Centre (MERC) of the University of Kashmir who have been specially invited to Mumbai for the 17th MAMI Film Festival.

Advisor to the Chief Minister, Prof. Amitabh Mattoo, renowned filmmaker, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Secretary Tourism, Farooq A. Shah were also present on the occasion.

Praising Vidhu Vinod Chopra for redefining the art of filmmaking, Mufti Sayeed said the Mumbai visit will be baptism by fire for these young students who want to venture into the world of creative cinema. “Vinod is our proud son whose films have always made a statement and left an indelible mark on the filmgoers,” he said, while asking MERC students to seek inspiration from the movie maestro.

Asking the students to give wings to their dreams by mastering the art of filmmaking, the Chief Minister said he is determined to promote art and culture in a big way in the state. “We are activating JKAACL (J&K Academy of Art, Culture & Languages) by organizing various functions at the state-level. During my recent visit to Tagore Hall at Srinagar, I also announced setting up of a School of Sufiyana & Folk Music,” he added.

Responding to a series of questions, Mufti Sayeed said he is striving to build right atmosphere in Kashmir by focusing on its core strengths. He said his trip to Mumbai was successful in garnering support for promoting investment in industry, power, telecommunications and the tourism sectors.

During his visit, the Chief Minister also met several business tycoons including Anil Ambani of ADAG, Dr. Subash Chandra of Zee Media and Nikhil Meswani of Reliance India Limited.

Calling the visiting students ambassadors of Kashmir, the maker of several blockbusters like 3 Idiots, Munna Bhai MBBS and PK said he sees a young Vidhu Vinod Chopra in all of them. He said he will make a special request to the executive committee of MAMI Festival to include a slot for short films from Kashmir in its next edition so that youngsters get a platform to showcase their talent.“Even a 3-4 minute digital film shot on a mobile can create magic,” he said, while urging students to show the best of Kashmir through the wonderful art of filmmaking.

The celebrated filmmaker even shared a lighter moment with the Chief Minister when he revealed how he used to ‘hear’ dialogues of Bollywood thespian Dalip Kumar’s masterpiece Ram aur Shyam, outside the Palladium Cinema.

Interacting with the guests on the dais, most of the students said the festival gave them an insight into the country’s rich diversity. They thanked the Chief Minister and Vidhu Vinod Chopra for having given them an opportunity to be part of an event of such grandeur.

The students also attended dinner hosted by business tycoon and owner of Reliance Industries Limited, Mukesh Ambani, during which they got an opportunity to interact with famed directors like Shyam Benegal, Anurag Kashyap and Vishal Bhardwaj.

The Chief Minister was informed that 12 students were selected from a group of 60 on the basis of an aptitude test on creative filmmaking. Even though the students in the past have been taken on exposure visits to FTII (Film & Television Institute of India), Pune, this was for the first time when they have been invited to an international film festival in Mumbai.


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