The Indian Film Festival at Abu Dhabi got off to a glorious start on last Sunday. And who better to inaugurate the festival than the person who perhaps embodies Indian cinema better than anyone else: Yash Chopra. The inauguration ceremony kicked off with an address by H.H. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister for Higher Education & Scientific Research, Government of the United Arab Emirates. He was followed by Mr. Abdulla Al Salim Al Amri, Director of Culture & Art Institute, ADACH, and the Director of the Indian Film Festival and then H.E. Talmiz Ahmad, India’s ambassador to the UAE.
Rachel Dwyer, renowned scholar of Indian film and author of an acclaimed biography of Yash Chopra then took the stage to introduce the legend. After her pithy and heartfelt introduction, Mr. Chopra took the stage to say a few words before formally inaugurating the festival. “The people of the UAE have always shown tremendous appreciation for Indian cinema,” he said, “As have the many people of Indian origin who have found a welcoming home in the UAE. I am glad therefore that a festival of Indian film is being held here on such a big scale and I wish with all my heart that it gets bigger and bigger in the years to come.” After his comments, the vote of thanks were read out by Mr. S.K. Nangia, First Secretary, Embassy of India, which was followed by the screening of the first film of the festival, “Veer-Zaara”, produced and directed by Yash Chopra himself.
Apart from being one of the most commercially successful films, Yash Chopra’s “Veer-Zaara” (released in 2004) had also got the prestigious recognition of being selected and screened at the Berlin International Film Festival, Marrakech Film Festival, Dubai International Film Festival, Hawaii International Film Festival and Jeonju International Film Festival in Korea.
The Indian Film Festival at Abu Dhabi will run from the 2nd to the 11th of November 2008 and will showcase some of the most memorable works of Indian cinema from the recent past, as well as some works produced in the UAE itself.