Curtains went up on the 46th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) – the 12th edition of the film festival in the state – at a spectacular opening ceremony held at the Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee stadium, in the presence of the popular Hindi film actor Anil Kapoor, opening up 11-days of cinematic extravaganza.
Governor Mridula Sinha, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar lit the traditional lamp to set the reels rolling.
The two-and-a-half hour opening ceremony saw various luminaries endorsing Goa as the perfect destination for holding the prestigious mega film festival, besides assurance from the Chief Minister to Goan filmmakers about his government’s support to them, and a nostalgic trip into the world of cinema through film clippings and related performances touching upon areas like social anger, romance, dance and so on.
Legendary Indian film composer Ilaiyaraaja, who has been scoring music prominently for South Indian films, was conferred the Centenary Film Personality Award by Anil Kapoor on the occasion. He received a standing ovation from the crowd.
The Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting announced that the IFFI Lifetime Achievement Award would be presented to the celebrated Russian actor and director Nikita Mikhalkov. He also released of a book of essays on Dadasaheb Phalke Award recipients titled ‘Legends of Indian Silver Screen’ and presented the same to actresses Sonakshi Sinha and Devika Bhise, and cinematographer/director Kabir Khan.
Internationally acclaimed Indian filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, who is the chairman of the international jury that will decide the best amongst the 15 films in the International Competition Section, introduced the jury members namely Micheal Radford (documentary director-UK), Julia Jentsch (actress-Germany), Suha Arraf (Israel-based Palestinian filmmaker) and Jeon Kyu-Hwan (director-South Korea).
Anil Kapoor also shook a leg and danced to the tune of songs from two of his films attracting applause from the audiences. He danced with compere Aditi Rao Hydari to the song ‘Dhak dhak karne laga’ (‘Beta’) that was played in the background. He also danced with the other compere Ayushmann Khurrana to the tune of ‘My name is Lakhan’ (Ram Lakhan).
Later, the opening film ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’ was screened at Kala Academy for the invitees.
‘Let’s relate to the smiles and tears in a bonanza of films’
Popular actor Anil Kapoor was all praises for Goa in his speech. “I have been coming here for many years,” Kapoor said, adding, “When I come here it gives me a certain kind of energy.”
“Goa is a heavenly homeland and for many of us, who have to live in cities close and far, Goa is a precious retreat,” the popular actor maintained, further stating, “Goa is a place to feel at home and to dream our little big dreams.”
“Today is a special day for me and this is a kind of reunion for me because there are so many dignitaries here, so many people whom I admire, and I have met them personally and spoken to them,” Kapoor said, pointing out that he has not been meeting many of them for quite some time.
The actor further thanked celebrated music composer Illaiyaraaja, present in the audience, for scoring music for his second film ‘Pallavi Anu Pallavi’, which was a Kannada film directed by Mani Ratnam, some four decades ago. He also maintained that he, as an actor, and Ratnam, as director, were unknown faces and the film was promoted solely on the basis of its strong music, which was later plagiarised in many of the films.
“There are no ifs and buts about it, and we are bonded by our abiding love for cinema, at a festival that is showcasing excellence in global film culture,” Kapoor said, going on to say, “It’s so emotional today; everybody is saying that I am getting young, but people get very emotional when they grow old, and I am getting old because I am getting very, very sentimental today.”
He greeted the crowd with the Konkani words ‘Mhaka Goem Borem Lagta’ (I love Goa), raising cheers from the jubilant crowd.
Kapoor concluded by appealing to movie lovers to get lost in the magic of cinema in the days to come. “Let’s relate to the smiles and tears in a bonanza of films, which will be projected into our hearts and minds,” he ended.
‘My Saptaswara is not for violence’
Celebrated South Indian music composer, IIlaiyaraaja said that he has always followed his heart while composing music for the films.
Indicating the Telugu film ‘Siva’, which was director Ram Gopal Varma’s debut venture, the music composer, who is all set to compose music for his thousandth film, said that that particular film dealt with violence related to college students.
“I composed sad music for the film, to which Ram Gopal Varma objected, but then I told him that students come to the college for studying and not fighting, and that was what caused a sad feeling within me, translating it into sad music,” he informed, maintaining that his Saptaswara (seven notes) is not for violence, and he has been giving only divine music to film. IIlaiyaraaja also requested the government to make music compulsory (subject) in schools, colleges and other educational institutions. “Then and only then the violence (in society) will come down,” he observed.
The celebrated music composer further said that he is the only music composer to use ascending notes in his music, as also use only three notes to compose a song. He demonstrated such a composition much to the astonishment of the audiences.
‘There cannot be a better synergy than good cinema and Goa’
The Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Arun Jaitley said that film festivals world over have acquired a niche, and are conventionally identified with the locations they are held at.
“Film festivals of Berlin or Cannes are geographically identified and therefore it has become customary to make them as centres where creativity assembles,” said Jaitley, adding, “Similarly, there cannot be a better synergy than good cinema and Goa; the place combines entertainment, quality and recreation, and this year’s version of IFFI adds something to it.”
‘Cinema has left great impact on my life’ …say CM Laxmikant Parsekar
Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar admitted that cinema has influenced him and has left a great impact on his life.
“Indian cinema in national and regional languages, in the real sense, is celebration of unity in diversity seen in this country,” said the CM.
“In Goa, eight to ten films are produced annually, against all odds, although there is no market for local movies,” Parsekar said further assuring Goan filmmakers that his government will provide them with all necessary support in their endeavour to make the Goan film industry flourish.
Power to the jury
“I have been travelling and making films all over the world, but never been a jury at home,” admitted internationally acclaimed director Shekhar Kapur while acknowledging his appointment as chairman of the international jury for International Competition Section at the 46th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI).
“I was with Manohar Parrikar, one of the persons who fought to bring IFFI to Goa,” Kapur said in his speech, further quipping, “When Parrikar says something will be done, it will be done.” Kapur later introduced the jury members.
“The selection of the best films by the jury is an astute process, and every jury member has represented their country and made international cinema,” said the director noting that jury members have pushed boundaries of cinema and are fearless. “In fact, there is nothing more fearsome than facing a blank canvas.”
Kapoor also said that nearly 30 years after he made the film ‘Mr India’ with Anil Kapoor, he thought it would have been forgotten by now. “But today, I see every paper announcing the arrival of ‘Mr India’ in Goa,” he jibed, adding, “That’s the power of cinema.”