The 42nd International Film Festival of India (IFFI) opened with the ritualistic lighting of the festival lamp by the Hon’ble Minister of Information and Broadcasting Smt. Ambika Soni, Shri Uday Kumar Varma-Secretary (Films), Hon’ble Chief Minister of Goa Shri Digambar Kamat, Shri Sanjay Shrivastava-Chief Secretary Goa, Festival Director Shri Shankar Mohan, Shri Manoj Shrivastav-CEO, ESG along with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan and Bengali cinema actress Rituparna Sengupta, who officially kicked off the biggest cinematic extravaganza of the entertainment world.
The dignitaries lead a star studded gathering of national and international luminaries who have come together to make this festival the grandest celebration of cinema of the world. Hosted by the suave Rahul Khanna and elegant Tisca Chopra, the event showcased the cultural diversity of the country which intermingled with a confluence of movie minds made for the perfect convergence of the world at the Indian shores.
Starting with the handing over of bouquets to the dignitaries by Rituparna Sengupta, the opening was followed by the welcome address by Hon’ble Chief Minister of Goa Shri Digambar Kamat who talked about the way cinema has prospered under IFFI and the support of the Government of Goa in establishing IFFI as a global cinema brand.
Addressing the audience, Smt Ambika Soni stressed on the growing eminence of Indian cinema and talked how IFFI has become an agent of the growing acceptance of Indian cinema and has given an impetus and an identity to the industry making it one of the most prosperous film industries of the world.
The King of Bollywood Shah Rukh Khan while expressing happiness on being a part of this cinematic extravaganza and talking about his experiences at film fiestas and the growth of cinema as a whole shared that Indian cinema is on a rise and IFFI has played an integral part in its global acceptability. While IFFI has given a platform to Indian filmmakers to showcase their creativity to connoisseurs of the world, it has also brought international ideas to Indian shores.
While the speakers shed light on the importance of IFFI as a vehicle of socio-cultural change and its contribution to the growth of cinema, the cultural fiestas offered an insight into the cultural diversity of this country has to offer. Starting with the rendition of ‘Vande Mataram’ featuring seven dancers dancing on slow paced music, the opening ceremony moved on to an Odissi recital by Subhada Varadkar, Lavani performance by Karishma G, Kathak recital by Aditi Mangaldas which culminated to Saptarang Tarana which brought together all the lead performing artists together to showcase the ‘Unity in Diversity’ of the country.
Moving forward with the compere talking on ‘Unification of Mankind’ and the ‘One World, One Family’ adage, the ceremony showcased a mesmerizing performance by the Shillong Chamber Choir which presented to the audience renditions which presented the culture of the country in contemporary tones. The next segment of the event presented the international jury panel which comprised of luminary filmmakers like Adoor Gopalakrishnan-the Chairman of the panel, Dan Wolman from Israel, Lawrence Kardish from USA, Lee Yong Kwan from the Busan Film Festival and Tahmineh Milani from Iran who were felicitated by Rituparna Sengupta.
Building upto the attraction of the evening, the conferring of Life Time Achievement award to French film maker Bertrand Tavernier, the event showcased an extempore painting by Shri Vilas Nayak on Bertrand Tavernier followed by a screening of a two minute clip on the acclaimed filmmaker known for his works in world cinema. A certificate, cheque, scroll and shawl presented by the Hon’bl Minister of Information and Broadcasting Smt. Ambika Soni summed up the facilitation ceremony and rounded off with a vote of thanks to Mr. Tavernier by the festival director, Shri Shankar Mohan.
The next segment of the ceremony showcased the opening film of the festival ‘The Consul of Bordeaux’ directed by Francisco Manso and Joao Correa which portrayed the story of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a man of conviction who saved 30,000 lives during the World War II. Much appreciated by the audience this 90 minute movie brought in the cast and crew of the Portuguese film which were honoured by the hosts and thus brought down the curtains on the most glorious film festival opening of the year.
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