The 53rd edition of the International Film Festival of India, IFFI, got off to a rousing start on Sunday, November 20, at the Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium in Goa. The Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Youth Affairs and Sports, Anurag Singh Thakur, inaugurated the annual festival in the presence of L Murugan, Minister of States, in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Pramod Sawant, the Chief Minister of Goa, Governor P. S. Sreedharan Pillai and Secretary of Information and Broadcasting, Apurva Chandra. IFFI continues till November 28.
The opening ceremony followed by the screening of opening film Alma & Oskar at INOX theatre, saw a houseful of audiences at Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee auditorium.
With its philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kitumbakam’ (The World is One Family), the annual film fest has been easing boundaries in art and cinema. Speaking on occasion, I & B Minister, Anurag Singh Thakur, asserted, “IFFI presents unique opportunities and incredible possibilities for young aspiring filmmakers to network, pitch, collaborate and experience the best from the world of cinema. The 53rd IFFI is all set to be melting pot of myriad vibrant cultures and spectacle of cinematic excellence.”
Mr. Thakur also informed that the presidency of G20 has been given to India this year.
Conducted jointly by the National Film Development Corporation and the Entertainment Society of Goa, with Information and Broadcasting Ministry, IFFI works towards the discovery, support and promotion of films across genres, cultures and languages. Welcoming foreign dignitaries, the film fraternity and cinema aficionados, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant welcomed everyone to the city for IFFI. “It is this time of year when filmmakers and film enthusiasts come over from all over the world to the beautiful crown jewel, the subcontinent that we all call Goa. Let’s also remember our formal chief minister Shri Manohar Parrikar who transformed his vision into reality and allowed Goa to be the permanent host for this extravaganza.”
Spanish Filmmaker Carlos Saura was awarded the Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award. While he couldn’t come to IFFI, his daughter Anna Saura received the award on his behalf.
The opening ceremony came alive by performances by a number of leading Hindi film stars, including Varun Dhawan, Kartik Aaryan, Sara Ali Khan, Mrunal Thakur and Amruta Khanvilkar. There was also a flamenco dance performance.
Secretary of I & B, Apurva Chandra stated, “IFFI is the platform for the Indian film industry to showcase the best to the world and imbibe the best practices from cinema around the world.”
Many Indian actors were present, including Ajay Devgn, Manoj Bajpayee, Suniel Shetty, Paresh Rawal, Kartik Aryan, Varun Dhawan, Sara Ali Khan, Amruta Khanvilkar, Ritabhari Chakraborty. Actors Manoj Bajpayee, Suniel Shetty, Ajay Devgn, Paresh Rawal and writer Vijendra Prasad were felicitated for their contribution to Indian cinema.