Rekha inaugurates IFFI in Goa; Warlords screened

MUMBAI: The 39th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) kickstarted at the Kala Academy in Goa. Veteran actress Rekha inaugurated the Festival by lighting the ceremonial lamp.

Also present were Governor of Goa, Dr. S. S. Sidhu, Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting and External Affairs, Anand Sharma and Chief Minister of Goa Digambar V. Kamat.

The inaugural lamp was lit with the assistance of Telugu actress of Goan origin Illina D.Cruz. Actress Amrita Rao hosted the inaugural function as the master of ceremony. Also present were Randhir Kapoor, Sachin, Tabu and Tisca Chopra.

Sharma said, "The festival together 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. 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 added, "Films are a 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 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," he 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 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.

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 said that Goa has taken a lead to form ‘cinephile’, a club of cinema lovers to help promote cinema in the State.

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.

There are three Country Focuses this year – Russia, Switzerland and Iran. The Foreign Retrospectives are on films of Aki Kaurusmaki (Finland), John Landis (USA) and Wong Kar Wai (Hong Kong). Eight restored heritage film classics are there in the Film Heritage – Thematic “Women” section. Besides there will be a special tribute to Niki Karimi.

Peter Ho-Sun Chan’s period Chinese film Warlords was screened as the opening film. Warlords is set in the year 1850s portraying Taiping rebellion against the Qing Dynasty. The film stars Jet Li, Andy Lau, Takeshi Kaneshiro and Xu Jinglei.