Rajinikanth, Amitabh and a slice of Gandhi this IFFI
Panaji: On Thursday, if you are in Goa, you may just be in chance to collect some stardust.
The 45th edition of the IFFI, which got underway Thursday, hosts Rajinikanth and Amitabh Bachchan who are the part of the inauguration ceremony at the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Indoor Stadium on the outskirts of the state capital.
While Big B is the chief guest at the event, the czar of the Southern cinema Rajinikanth will be presented with Centenary Award for Indian Film personality of the year. The ceremony will be attended by Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley, Minister of state for I&B Rajyavardhan Rathore and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, among others.
Bachchan's entry this year is significant because the tenure of his absence from IFFI, India's biggest state-backed film festival, has coincided with his falling out with the Congress-led central governments in the recent past.
“The President” directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf will be the opening film of the fest, and "The Grandmaster" by Wong Kar-wai, who will incidentally receive the lifetime achievement award, will be the closing film of the festival.
The 11-day festival will also screen 179 films from 75 countries across different categories which include World Cinema (61 films), Masterstrokes (11 films), Festival Kaleidoscope (20 films), Soul of Asia (7 films), Documentaries (6 films), and Animated Films (6 films).
The Indian Panorama section will include 41 feature and non-feature films. Seven films from India's northeastern region will also be screened at the event as part of a special package.
"In all, sixtytwo films in the world cinema section will be screened, while 15 films will be screened in the IFFI's competition section this year," says IFFI director Shankar Mohan, who is a senior official of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
Retrospective sections on Gulzar and Jahnu Baruah, special homage films on Richard Attenborough, Robin Williams, Zohra Sehgal, Suchitra Sen, and a special tribute to Farooq Sheikh would be other attractions this year.
A special section of films that focus on dance, personality based retrospectives, and Masterclasses or specialized workshops conducted by master artistes will also form part of the IFFI 2014.
The positioning of China as a focus country at this year's event is a result of cinematic partnership as envisioned in an India-China agreement signed between the two countries when Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this year.
"This is only a beginning of sorts. We will see a greater interaction at all levels - right from representatives of the Chinese film industry as well as other cultural exchanges between the two countries," Mohan said.
The organisation of the latest edition of IFFI has also seen its share of controversy, with the main opposition party, the Congress, alleging a scam in tendering in creation of temporary infrastructure for the event, a charge which the organisers have rubbished.
The festival will also pay tribute to British filmmaker Richard Attenborough, the maker of the iconic film “Gandhi”, who died in August this year. His Academy Award winning film “Gandhi” is also one of those films which will be screened to the general audience (non-delegates) free of cost everyday.