Under the open sky, with the iconic Gateway Of India on its backdrop, the 20th Jio Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) Mumbai Film Festival started on Thursday night on an emotional note, in solidarity with the #MeTooMovement that aims to create a much inclusive environment at the workplace.

Considering the fact that the #MeTooMovement in India is gaining momentum, calling it a ‘profound collective reckoning’ festival director Anupama Chopra said at the opening ceremony, “we are starting the festival with conflicted emotions, in solidarity with the #MeTooMovement. We decided to exclude certain films from the festival.”

Hosted by actress Kalki Koechlin, the ceremony was graced by Karan Johar, Anil Kapoor, Zoya Akhtar, Radhika Apte, Soha Ali Khan, Diana Penty, Vishal Bhardwaj, Radhika Apte, Tabu to international filmmaker Sean Baker, Thom Noble, Lucrecia Martel among others.

Being the jury member of the Dimensions Mumbai, filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani said: “I think it is a great initiative to have a section where filmmakers under 25 (years old) get a chance to showcase their work on big screen. I still remember when in the film institute we made a film which was shown on the big screen. The joy of watching it on the big screen was stunning. So I am absolutely looking forward to these films.”

The festival honoured the iconic filmmaker Shyam Benegal with the Excellence In Cinema Award.

Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan, who along with veteran actress Jaya Bachchan gave away the award to Benegal said: “Shyamji is one of my favourite filmmakers and his films created a deep impact on me, so I am so happy to be here. I think the film industry owes you so much sir.”

Benegal who felt very emotional receiving the award said: “This is like my one hand giving the award to another I feel like a very much part of MAMI. I was one of the founder members of the festival; and back then, I used to think that people who are part of MAMI should give themselves some awards also. Well, I lost, they won, now I won (this award).”

This year, a book has been published that captured the detailed journey of the festival for the last 20 years. The book is authored by Sucheta Chakraborty, Ruklina Bose.

After unveiling the book in the presence of festival directors and board members like Anupama, Smriti Kiran, Kiran Rao along with Benegal, authors and publisher of the book, Jaya Bachchan said: “About 25 years ago, I told Amit Khanna to start a film festival here in Mumbai. Back then he said, it is impossible to happen. However, a few years later when we started the festival, I was so happy to see Amit on board with us.

The film festival will continue till November 1.