The much-awaited 51st edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) got off on Saturday with enthralling cultural performances amidst a dazzling ceremony celebrating the joy of cinema.
Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium at Panaji in Goa reverberated with the passion of film-stars, film-makers and film-lovers from around the world.
The opening ceremony of Asia’s oldest and India’s biggest film festival has been hosted by actor, author and film-producer Tisca Chopra and became further illuminated by the dazzling presence of eminent film-maker Priyadarshan Nair and noted actor Sudeep who has been the chief guest, among other celebrated film personalities.
The function also saw the graceful presence of Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar and Chief Minister of Goa Pramod Sawant, among other dignitaries, according to Press Information Bureau of India.
Speaking on the occasion, Sudeep, also known as Kichha Sudeep said, “Let Cinema be the new pandemic”.
He said, “Cinema is one fraternity that, from one seat, takes you all around the world, gets you the knowledge, gets you closer to the culture of every fraternity across the world”.
Addressing the audience, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar said that 600 International entries and 190 Indian entries have been received this year, reflecting the huge importance the world attaches to it.
Javadekar announced, on the occasion of 100th birth anniversary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the two countries are together making a film titled Bangabandhu.
Veteran actor and Director Biswajit Chatterjee has been conferred Indian Personality of the Year Award, he further announced.
Jadavekar said, unlike other countries, India has multiple favourable destinations for shooting. “Hence, we need to promote ‘Shoot in India,” stated the Minister.
In the context of Film Bazaar, the Union Minister said, film is not only a source of entertainment, but also a big market.
“Human being is an imaginative being; films which appeal to the imagination make us laugh, cry and make us one, united in the story. If the story is told well, the film will become popular.”
The Minister said that we will make a beginning to private participation in film festival, from 52nd IFFI. He said that the 51st edition of IFFI will run on seven screens, and lakhs of mobiles and TVs and will reach the whole world.
The Chief Minister of Goa Shri Pramod Sawant invited Indian and global film makers to look at Goa as a preferred destination for film making.
“The annual IFFI gives an opportunity to members of film fraternity from across the world to explore the jewel from the west coast of India”, he said.
High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India Mohammad Imran was also present on the occasion.
Bangladesh is the focus country of the festival this year.
Apart from the recognition of the creativity and ingenuity of the film-makers of Bangladesh, it is also a testimony of the depth of relations and a historic bind between the two neighbouring countries, said the High Commissioner.
“We thank the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, for organizing this festival in this challenging time. It shows the commitment and courage you have to face and overcome the challenging situation as well as your passion and love for arts and culture”, he said.
The delegates will be treated to ten of the best films from the focus country Bangladesh, showcasing the country’s cinematic excellence and contributions to the world of cinema.
The Lifetime Achievement in the 51st IFFI has been given to Italian cinematographer Vittorio Storaro.
In a video message, Storaro thanked IFFI for recognizing his journey.
The legendary cinematographer said that he owes the incredible visual journey he had, to his colleagues and great directors like Bernardo Bertolucci, Francis Coppola, Carlos Oliveira and Woody Allen.
“They led me in a special way, like in an orchestra, to use my language of light”, he said. In a word of advice to young cinematographers, he said, “Study, research, prepare yourself. Love what you do, only if you love and believe in something, you can make it”.
“India is a wonderful universe which allows us to continue dreaming day by day, since everything is possible in India”, said Chairman of International Jury, Argentine Film Director Pablo Cesar, in a video message.
The 14th Edition of NFDC Film Bazaar was also virtually launched by Union Minister Shri Prakash Javadekar on the occasion.
This NFDC Film Bazaar will be held in a hybrid format which will be both offline and online.
The Film Bazaar will be held virtually but it will include all sections usually held in previous editions.
Film Bazaar is the largest South Asian film market.
It encourages creative and financial collaboration between the South Asian and International film communities.
A trailor of the festival’s opening film ‘Another Round’ by Danish film-maker Thomas Vinterberg was played in the opening ceremony.
“As a starting point, this was a pure celebration of alcohol, but it grew into a celebration of life”, said the Director in a video message.
The movie is Denmark’s official entry to the Oscars and stars Cannes Best Actor Award winner Mads Mikkelsen.
In the 51st IFFI, 126 films from 60 countries will be showcased in International sections.
Some 85 films out of these will be premiere screenings, including 7 World Premieres, 6 International Premieres, 22 Asian Premieres and 50 Indian Premieres.
Masterclasses and In-conversation sessions, which have been the highlight of IFFI over the years, will also be held virtually.
Renowned film personalities like Shekhar Kapur, Priyadarshan, Pablo Cesar (from Argentina) and Prasanna Vithanage (from Sri Lanka) will be sharing their valuable experience for these sessions.
A retrospective section will showcase legendary film-maker Satyajit Ray’s popular classics like Pather Panchali, Shatranj Ke Khilari, Charulata, Ghare Baire and Sonar Kella.
On the occasion of the 150th Birth Anniversary of the father of Indian Cinema, four films by Dadasaheb Phalke will be screened.
IFFI will also pay Homage to 18 film personalities who passed away in the previous year.
This includes much loved personalities like Irrfan Khan, Rishi Kapoor, S.P Balasubrahmanyam, Soumitra Chatterjee, Sushant Singh Rajput and Basu Chatterjee.
World premiere of ‘Mehrunisa’ by Sandeep Kumar will take place mid-fest in IFFI. Japanese movie ‘Wife of a Spy’ directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa will bring the curtains down on this edition of the festival.
Source: United News of Bangladesh