50th edition of IFFI off to a grand start

50th edition of IFFI off to a grand start

Singer Shankar Mahadevan and team perform at the opening ceremony at Dr. Shyama Prasad Stadium in Goa on Wednesday. | DH Photo: Pushkar V

The inauguration of the 50th edition International Film Festival of India (IFFI) was held in Goa’s Syama Prasad Mukherjee stadium on Wednesday, which honoured film stars Rajinikanth and Amitabh Bachchan in the presence of Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.

Rajinikanth was honoured with the ‘Icon of the Jubilee’ award at the ceremony, while Bachchan was the guest of honour. Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar was the emcee for the event.

The lifetime achievement award this year went to French actor Isabelle Huppert. Both Rajinikanth and Huppert were awarded Rs 10 lakh each. 

The event started off with a video tribute to former Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar, who had taken a special interest in the film festival ever since it took permanent residence in Goa in 2004.

To commemorate the fiftieth edition of the festival, a special postage stamp was released by Javadekar, who handles the Information and Broadcasting portfolio, and Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant stressed at the event on the importance IFFI has in building film tourism in the state and providing job opportunities to the residents of Goa.

The inauguration ceremony became a place of bonding for the two stalwart actors of Indian cinema. While Rajinikanth said Amitabh was his “inspiration”, the latter said, “I give advice to Rajini, Rajini gives advice to me. It’s a different matter that we don’t take each other’s advice”. 

The event was interspersed with performances by musicians Shankar Mahadevan and Louis Banks. One song, sang in honour of Mahatma Gandhi for his 150th birth anniversary, was a multilingual rendering of the song ‘Vaishnava janato’ — the other languages being English, Italian, Chinese and German — that ended with the song ‘Mile sur’.

Protesters expelled

When Prakash Javadekar started his speech, some people protested asking him to “go back”. Security forces moved the slogan-raisers out within a minute. Javadekar went on with his speech paying no attention.

Speaking to DH on the condition of anonymity, a senior police officer said the protesters were Goans who were miffed with Javadekar’s move to exempt Karnataka from seeking environmental clearance for one of the projects on the Mahadayi river.

The minister holds the entertainment portfolio as well. The protesters apparently had invitation cards like anyone attending the event. There were also protests outside the IFFI venue in this regard.

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