The 39th International Film Festival of India (IFFI-08) began on Saturday in Goa . The legendary bollywood Actress Rekha inaugurated the Festival by lighting the ceremonial lamp in the august presence of the Governor of Goa, Dr. S. S. Sidhu, the Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting and External Affairs, Anand Sharma and the Chief Minister of Goa, Digambar V. Kamat. The inaugural lamp was lit with the assistance of Telugu Actress of Goan origin Illina D.Cruz. Amrita Rao, an upcoming Actress hosted the Inaugural Function as the Master of Ceremony. The luminaries present were, inter alia, the Speaker of the Assembly, Pratap Singh Rane, Panjim Mayor, Tony Rodrigues bollywood doyens Randhir Kapur, Sachin, Tabu and Tisca Chopra.
Anand Sharma said on the occasion that as the curtain rises from 39th edition of the festival, it brings together the film professionals from India and abroad at one platform to recognize the excellence in cinema, and creativity and dedication of hundreds of people who are involved in making films. The Minister said, cinema is a powerful medium of connecting people within the society, the nation and the continent. The journey of Indian cinema, which is almost a century old manifest how Indian cinema and its makers were deeply rooted in the reality of their time and displayed the same in their works.
Sharma further mentioned, films are powerful way of conveying a message and have great ability of influencing masses. This, therefore, imposes a great responsibility on everyone associated with the film industry to look at how to use the power of cinema to do good for society through the portrayal of attitudes that help in building tolerant and harmonious societies, the Minister observed.
The Indian film industry is believed to be the largest in the world – producing over a thousand films a year in different languages. At a time when every sector of our economy is being influenced and in most cases taking the benefits of the currents of globalization, our film industry can utilize this opportunity too, the Minister added. He assured the film fraternity of all possible support from the Government that would lead to promotion of good cinema.
The Governor of Goa, Dr. S.S. Sidhu said that the good cinema reflects economic, cultural and social reality of the time. He observed that with the technological advancement, the film industry is poised to assume a greater responsibility of producing films capable of influencing the people towards creation of a better society. He felt that the fifth edition of IFFI at Goa is all set to take a great leap forward and carve a niche for itself internationally.
The Chief Minister, Shri Kamat while speaking on the occasion said that such international film festivals provide a platform for close interaction between Indian and international film makers, artistes, students of cinema etc. He reminded the august gathering of the contribution of Goa and the Goan people in the film industry. He said that Goa has taken a lead to form ‘cinephile’, a club of cinema lovers to help promote cinema in the State. He assured of State’s as well as people’s support to take IFFI to newer heights so that IFFI-Goa compares with the best of the film festivals in the world.
In her address, Sushma Singh, Secretary (I&B) mentioned that the International film Festival is one of the flagship programmes of the Ministry. The Ministry has considered cinema as a strong medium of communication for socio-economic development and as such has been taking steps to strengthen the film industry. IFFI is one such initiative of the Government which presents the best of international cinema and its makers. The confluence of cinema from all over the world at IFFI’s platform is crucial for the development of good cinema in this part of the globe. Secretary (I&B) further added that the increase in the number of delegates from 4000 last year to over 6000 is a testimony of growing popularity of our film festival.
S.M. Khan, the Festival Director announced that in the section of the Cinema of the World, 65 films from more than 40 countries will be screened. In the Film India Worldwide segment of the International programming, Tandoori Love (Switzerland), Death without Consent (USA), Barah Aana and Chaurasta – Cross Roads of Love (India) will be presented. A specialized competition for feature films from Asia, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Africa is being organized. Two Indian entries — S. Priyadarshan’s Tamil film “Kanchivaram” and Ramesh Laxman More’s acclaimed Marathi film “Mahasatta” — have been selected in the “competition” section among 13 other films chosen from Bangladesh, Russia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, Iran, Philippines, Argentina, China and Japan.
There are three Country Focuses this year viz. Russia, Switzerland and Iran. The Foreign Retrospectives are on films of Aki Kaurusmaki (Finland), John Landis (USA) and Wong Kar Wai (Hong Kong). 8 restored heritage film classics are there in the Film Heritage – Thematic “Women” section. Besides there will be a special tribute to Niki Karimi, he mentioned.
The Indian programming at IFFI – 2008 would be under seven different segments with screening of 83 films. Besides the section Indian Panorama wherein 26 Feature and 21 Non Feature films will be screened. The Indian programming would have Retrospective of Legendary Director Bimal Roy and L.V. Prasad. Udayer Pathe, Devdas, Bandini, Gautama the Buddha, Remembering of Bimal Roy and Do Bigha Zamin will be screened in Retrospective on centenary of Bimal Roy. Other Retrospective on legendary Director and Producer L. V. Prasad on his birth centenary will have the screening of Dadi Maa and Ek Duje ke Liye.
Under the Lifetime Classics, Mughle- A – Azam of Dilip Kumar, Hum Aapke Hai Kaun & Dil Ek Mandir of eminent singer Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar, Anbe Vaa and Kittur Channamma of eminent Kannada Actress B. Saroja Devi and Kabuliwala of Tapan Sinha will be screened. G. P. Sippy, B. R. Chopra, F. C. Mehra, Jayshree Gadkar, Raghuvaran, Mahendra Kapoor, Jeeva, Sridhar, Vijay Tendulkar and Nabendu Ghosh will be paid tribute under Homage section.
The Jury members of Competition Section, Peter Chan, Marco Mueller, Niki Karimi, Lav Diaz and Tabassum Hashmi were felicitated during the Inaugural Function. Chinese film ‘Warlords’ was screened as the opening film. The Director of the opening film Peter Chan and the crew of the film were introduced to the audience before the screening of the film.