In a double first, Jio MAMI Film Festival with Star will hold its opening ceremony on 20thOctober at the newly restored Royal Opera House in downtown Mumbai. The day also celebrates the re-opening of this iconic venue; India's only surviving Opera House once the cultural heartbeat of Mumbai. The city is grateful to the Royal Family of Gondal – the owners of the iconic venue who have tirelessly worked towards ensuring the complete revival and restoration of this centre under the watchful eye of conservation architect Abha Narain Lambah.
The Maharaja of Gondal ShriVikramSinhji bought the Opera House in 1952. His son Shri JyotendraSinhji Jadeja commissioned its restoration in 2009, which is now nearing completion and revving up for its debut.
Gondal Maharaja Jyotendra Sinhji Jadeja said, “It gives me immense pleasure to see The Royal Opera House being revived back to its original glory. The Gondal Family has always been a great patron of art, culture and education. The Royal Opera House in this new avatar is our gift to the City of Mumbai. I thank my wife Smt. Kumud Kumari and my son Himanshisinh and our close family friend Ashish Doshi and needless to mention Abha Lambah who have worked tirelessly to ensure we can bring back this historical monument to its original glory. We are delighted to partner with MAMI festival and wish them all the luck.”
The idea for the Opera House was conceived in 1908 by Maurice Bandmann, a famous entertainer from Calcutta, and Jehangir Framji Karaka, who headed a coal brokers’ firm. The heritage building inaugurated in 1911 by King George V, reflects the grandness of Baroque architecture. With its domed ceiling embellished with paintings and whose acoustically perfect construction enabled those seated in the gallery to hear every word uttered by the performers!
One of the last standing Baroque buildings in Mumbai, the Opera House, with its long standing association with art, literature, theatre, music, has hosted operas and live performances of artists such as Bal Gandharva, Prithviraj Kapoor, Dinanath Mangeshkar and Lata Mangeshkar.
It is an ideal venue for the opening ceremony of the city's premier film festival. In its new avatar, the 574 seater will include state of the art acoustics – with valuable inputs and support from HARMAN International (India) and stage craft, lighting and air conditioning.
Jio MAMI with Star Festival Chairperson, Kiran Rao said, "We are honoured to have our opening ceremony at the Royal Opera House. We could not have asked for a better host- a host with a legacy that goes back over a hundred years. The Opera House is an iconic venue and as we get ready to roll out the red carpet, we hope to help revive its legacy as an important cultural venue for the people of Mumbai.”
With hundreds of films being screened across the city, the film festival is a cultural must do on Mumbai’s social calendar. The opening ceremony at the Royal Opera House kick starts this one of its kind film festival bonanza and symbolizes the spirit of cultural diversity.
Jio MAMI with Star Festival Director, Anupama Chopra said, “We are excited to be associated with this historical re-opening and thankful to the Royal family of Gondal for allowing us to host our opening ceremony there.”