17 October 2013 10:51 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Mumbai – Nathalie Baye, Bruce Beresford and Asghar Farhadi each drew warm applause at the opening ceremony of the Mumbai Film Festival on Thursday. But the standing ovations were reserved for Greco-French director Costa Gavras (“Z,” “Missing”) and local polymath Kamal Hassan, respectively recipients of the festival’s international and Indian lifetime achievement awards.

The festival also drew significant political and industrial heat with the attendance of Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and billionaire industrialist Anil Dhirubhai Ambani, whose Reliance Entertainment group is the festival’s chief financial backer.

Shyam Benegal, veteran film-maker and the festival’s chairman, made a plea from the stage for more financial support from the state – a plea which Chavan appeared to respond positively to – but mostly the red carpet bash was about getting the eight day event off to a glitzy, glad-handing and gleeful start.

Also on stage were Canada-based Indian film maker Deepa Mehta (“Fire, »

- Patrick Frater

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