Harrowed faces are always seen on the inaugural day of the festival. People are busy collecting their passes, standing in queues to book tickets for the first day. When they are not doing that, they are cribbing about how bad things are this year (many of them say that every year). At times they do have a point – the festival kit, that comprises of the schedule, catalogue and a bag (last year’s bag came in very handy to buy vegetables, the one given couple of years ago is perfect to carry a laptop) is still not available. Fortunately, the catalogue is available online but for the technologically challenged it can be quite an ordeal when it comes to downloading it.
The opening ceremony had the usual speeches, cultural performances, and two unknown blokes from FTII who had everyone’s attention. The ceremony started on time and the dance performances by Terence Lewis’ troupe, though impressive were a tad too long. Ayushmann Khurrana, the host for the evening was his bubbly self but Aditi Rao Hydari looked tenser than a studious girl waiting for her exam results, she barely smiled even once throughout the whole evening.
As, for the Chief Minister’s speech, well it could have been better – can’t blame him though, whoever wrote the speech should have avoided references to Rashomon and the like, which made him sound more like an art house film correspondent rather than a chief minister.
Ilaiyaraaja, the maestro who received the Centenary Award, nailed it with his speech. “Make music compulsory in schools and colleges and the violence around us will automatically go down,” he said to a thunderous applause. Deservedly, he received a standing ovation when he bestowed the award.
The opening film, The Man Who Knew Infinity, was screened at Kala Academy as well as the INOX theatre but since not many delegates knew about it, the INOX auditorium was virtually empty. As for the film, it was a mixed bag. The story of Srinivas Ramanujan who become friends with the mathematician G H Hardy after his was invited by the Brit, struck a chord and had some very touching moments but every time it cut to Ramanujan’s personal life (his wife whom he had left behind in India), the story lost steam. When it focuses on the mathematicians, it hits all the right notes and Jeremy Irons was just a treat to watch as the elderly academician.
Now, let the rest of the movies begin.