New Delhi: The 50th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) began in Goa today, in the presence of Amitabh Bachchan and Rajinikanth. The Festival opened with a screening of the Italian film ‘Despite the Fog’ by Serbian director Goran Paskaljevic.
At a ceremony hosted by Karan Johar, Amitabh Bachchan and ‘Thalaiva’ Rajinikanth flagged off the extravaganza and announced the festival open, in the presence of Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar and other official dignitaries.
Rajinikanth was conferred the ‘Icon Of Golden Jubilee Award’ for his outstanding contribution to Indian cinema, a first time award beginning with the 50th edition. Alongside, one of French cinema’s defining faces. Isabelle Huppert, was conferred with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Prakash Javadekar while speaking at the inaugural ceremony said that the single window system introduced by the Government will attract more international filmmakers to shoot their films in India.
“India has lots of scenic and beautiful shooting sites for national and international films but shooting at these locations requires around 15-20 permissions. Government is now preparing for single window arrangement which will take care of all the permissions and it will benefit places like Goa, Leh-Ladakh and Andaman & Nicobar,” said Javadekar.
Javadekar pointed out that films, IT and music are India’s soft power and we have to take it forward.
“Every film and character leaves a long lasting imprint on our mind and it has the power to change our thoughts and mood,” Javadekar said. He added that the audience for Indian films is growing by leaps and bounds and people across the world like to watch Indian movies, even in China.
“Many good films of the world will be showcased at IFFI and it will be a tribute to former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar,” the Minister said. He made special mention of a film in the festival made by local artists of Goa based on the lives of visually impaired people.
Receiving the ‘Icon Of Golden Jubilee Award, Rajinikanth expressed his happiness to receive the prestigious award from Amitabh Bachchan. He dedicated the award to all the producers, directors and technicians who worked on his films, his fans and the people of Tamil Nadu.
Bachchan, expressing his happiness in being honoured, stated, “I have no words to express my gratitude to IFFI for honouring me and having a retrospective of my films.”
Earlier on the Red Carpet, Bachchan said, “Films have always been an integral part of our social life. To have a festival of this magnitude in Goa exposes Goans to what happens in the international world and also gives them an opportunity to meet and mix with people.”
The Secretary of Information and Broadcasting Ministry, Amit Khare, mentioned the noteworthy highlights of this year’s festival and noted the tremendous change in the last 50 editions from a participation of 23 countries in 1952, to 76 countries this year.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said that the IFFI package this year is an interesting mix of leisure and entertainment.
“IFFI bridges the gap between India and the international film industry and provides the opportunity to explore cinema,” said Sawant.
“We should not forget the objectives of cinema as the mirror of our time and reflection of our society,” he added.
The late Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parikkar was given a befitting tribute at the opening ceremony by screening a short film depicting his contribution to IFFI.
Javadekar released the commemorative postage stamp of 50th IFFI at the function. The inaugural ceremony also witnessed audio visual performances through the evening, including performances from singer and composer Shankar Mahadevan and his band.
The 50th International Film Festival of India 2019 will witness over 200 acclaimed films from 76 countries, with Russia as the country of focus. It also includes 26 feature films and 15 non feature films in Indian panorama section. More than 10,000 people and film lovers are expected to participate in the golden jubilee edition. The festival ends on 28 November in Panaji, Goa.
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