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Great films, empty halls in IFFI

By Frederick Noronha, IANS

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Empty halls, unutilised delegate passes, tight security keeping cinema buffs away and great films - that seems to be the sad story of the 35th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which entered its fourth day Thursday.

"It's sad to see great films being shown to empty halls," said a local film enthusiast.

Though the Goa government did build a new multiplex with four theatres in record time for the festival and also refurbished its main cultural centre, the Kala Academy, the audiences are missing.

As it is, only 20 percent of tickets have been put out for public sale. To make things worse, to get a ticket to the inexplicably tight-security venue, the ordinary citizen has to travel to Miramar three km away.

Delegate passes have blocked most of the seats and these are not being regularly used. There was, however, a stampede to get into the main auditorium on the opening day of IFFI Monday.

Plans to extend the festival to existing local theatres went awry somewhere along the way. Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had promised funding for the now decrepit theatres to refurbish themselves, but the money never materialised.

That many of the existing theatres are owned by opposition Congress legislator Harish Zantye is being cited as a reason by some.


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