The International Film Festival of India gets a grand opening
The International Film Festival of India began on a sombre note, as the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Venkaiah Naidu requested the gathering for a minute of silence, for a tragic rail accident in Uttar Pradesh. After which, the festival began with it’s usual fervour. A majority of the evening’s entertainment was choreographed by Ganesh Acharya; complemented by the delightful comperes for the evening – Suhasini Maniratnam and Surveen Chawla. The chief guest for the evening was director, Ramesh Sippy.
As portraits of Dadasaheb Phalke Awardees flashed in the background, the duo spoke about the history of Indian Cinema. The festival even features a category dedicated to five Dadasaheb Phalke Award Winning films.
The traditional lamp was lit and The International Film FestivaI of India got underway. Ajay Mittal, Secretary at the Ministry of I&B welcomed the guests for the evening saying “Films are a powerful medium to reach out to society, especially in India which has a rich and diverse culture. Films pass on the culture from one generation to the next.” The Chief Minister of Goa, Laxmikant Parsekar highlighted the various activities happening around the IFFI campus over the next nine days and expressed pride in Goa being the permanent home of IFFI.
Women Empowerment was a major focus of the evening. Women in Indian cinema and their evolving roles were talked about, along with several visuals. These visuals were complemented by dance performances; emphasizing on roles right from the sixties to the present. Different cultures and traits were portrayed, from all over India.
At the end, team choreographer Ganesh Acharya was honoured by Shripad Naik, Member of Parliament, North Goa and Nana Patekar, actor.
Venkaiah Naidu then made an announcement, about P. V. Sindhu becoming the second Indian woman to win the China Open Super Series premier title.
The International Jury
The International Jury was introduced on stage – Mr. Ivan Passer (Chairman, Writer and Director), Larry Smith (Cinematographer), Leila Kilani (Director), Lordan Zafranovic (Director) and Nagesh Kukunoor (Writer, Director.)
Honoured by Ajay Mittal and Sushant Singh Rajput, the jury was wished luck, while judging the International Competition category.
Republic of Korea
E. Cho Hyun, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, emphasized on the thriving relations between his country and India. “I congratulate India for hosting IFFI and showcasing its colourful culture,” he said. “This time they are screening 18 Korean films. The relationship between India and Korea is strengthening in all fields, especially in cultural aspects and people to people connections.”
Centenary Award for Indian Film Personality of the Year
Legendary singer, actor and music director S. P. Balasubrahmanyam was felicitated for his contribution to Indian Cinema with the Centenary Award for Indian Film Personality of the Year. Having made his debut in 1996 in a Telugu film, he has rendered his voice to over 40,000 songs and holds a Guinness Record for having recorded the highest number of songs. His rendition of Vande Mataram evoked a standing ovation from the gathering. He said, “I dedicate this award to my mother, and also to the soldiers and martyrs of this country.”
South Korean filmmaker Im Kwon-taek, was conferred with the Lifetime Achievement Award. The famed director talked briefly, even owning up to some of his work that wasn’t as well-received.
In his address, Mr Venkaiah Naidu said, “Cinema is a religion without boundaries. I take from Karl Marx when I say that not religion, but cinema is the opium of the masses. In India 2000 films are produced every year, that is, a film is produced within every 4 to 5 hours, making India a country with highest production of films. Films need to become an agent of social change. They speak a universal language, and so must take on the social responsibility as they influence the masses. A case can be made for social realism in cinema. Films can take the responsibility of changing social stereotypes.”