She was talking to the media persons at the curtain raiser press conference of a cross-cultural film awards event called South Africa Indian Film & Television Awards (SAIFTA) at a Mumbai suburban hotel. SAIFTA is organized by the events management and marketing company Celebrity Locker and will be held at Durban, South Africa, on 6th September, 2013, and is expected to be attended by a host of Bollywood and South African celebrities.
Waheeda Rehman, the veteran star, who ruled the marquee during the golden era of the Indian film industry for over 20 years was grace personified. She leads the awards jury of SAIFTA that includes Mukesh Bhatt, Boman Irani, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, and Farah Khan apart from the South African members of the panel comprised of luminaries such as renowned actor and writer Welcome Msomi, theatre and television personality Saira Essa, film industry veteran Peter Rorvik, performing artist Linda Bukhosini, theatre personality Caroline Smart, and actress Leleti Khumalo.
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She was the toast of young media persons who flocked to get her news bytes falling over each other while she patiently tried to answer their questions in the resultant melee. When asked if she thinks that the film awards are still as important as they were in her hey days, she candidly admitted that since there are too many awards they have lost their sheen. ”Earlier, there were very few awards and we took them much more seriously. It is like if there is too much gold around, its market value falls. Everyone manages to get one award or the other these days.”
Earlier, the organizers took her hand-prints in plaster of Paris that will be displayed as a part of a Wall of Fame to be erected at Durban’s beachfront. The wall will display handprints of eminent personalities from the South African as well as the Indian Film Industry.
(Rajesh Kumar Singh is Editorial Consultant for Festivals and Markets for BollywoodTrade.com. He is a filmmaker, critic and market analyst)