The Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image (Mami), which organises the festival, made the announcement on Tuesday. The academy said the decision was made due to “the devastating pain and suffering across the country”.
The festival was scheduled to take place in November, but India has been hit by wide outbreaks of Covid-19. It currently has the third highest number of cases in the world, following the US and Brazil, with 1.9 million infected and 39,795 deaths as of Wednesday.
“It is our responsibility to do everything we can to keep our communities safe during this crisis … we promise that the festival will come back with fullness in spirit and enthusiasm for our beloved city of Mumbai,” wrote Isha Ambani, who is on the board of trustees at Mami.
Programming for the 22nd edition will continue, however, and the festival’s selection committee are prepared to announce the official film selection this month.
Much like other cultural events and institutions around the world, Mami has turned to virtual initiatives to reach audiences during the pandemic. Collaborating with streaming service Mubi, Mami will screen films online.
Mami has also launched an online series Dial M for Films, which features conversations with professionals in the film industry to discuss the process of filmmaking.
Festival director Anupama Chopra said in a statement, “The world is grappling with a global calamity. 2020 is about survival, introspection and humility.
“We have decided to prioritise healing this year and hold the festival in its full splendour next year,” adding that the team’s focus will be on building its “digital imprint”.
New dates for the 2021 event have not yet been announced.