PANAJI: It was a walk down memory lane for Akshay Kumar, as he inaugurated the 43rd edition of the International Film Festival of India. He spoke at length about his own personal earliest cinematic memories, while addressing the nearly 2,000 strong gathering.
Reminisced the action hero, “This international film festival is an occasion to remember what cinema is all about. Let me start by telling what cinema means to me. Cinema means to me emotion, excitement, suspense but most important what it means to me is family time.
“When I was a kid every weekend me, my sister, my mom and my day, we would go without lunch every single Saturday of every month so that at night my family could afford four tickets and four samosas and four mango stick ice creams.”
Akshay also said, “Religiously to this date I treat my family on Saturdays but fortunately I don’t have to skip lunch… It is our biggest connection in life. So I owe my entire life’s happiness to Indian cinema.”
Clad in a black suit, Akshay was the dignitary who lit the auspicious lamp at the opening ceremony at IFFI. Akshay also said that it was absolutely incredible that India was celebrating the its centenary year at IFFI.
Akshay lavished praise upon his late father-in-law Rajesh Khanna, and requested the gathering to observe a minute’s silence for his father-in-law Rajesh Khanna, Yash Chopra, Dev Anand, A K Hangal, Ashok Mehta and Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray.
This edition of IFFI saw stars like Kabir Bedi and Perizaad Zoriabian who played hosts for the evening. We also spotted Irfan Khan, Tabu, Om Puri, Jackie Shroff and Vinay Pathak.
There was also an amazing cultural performance depicting 100 years of Indian cinema. This was effectively portrayed through a stunning combination of music, dance and videos conceived and directed by Jahnu Barua, Saroj Khan and Sajjad Ali. Post that, the audiences were treated to an hour-long musical performance by Kailash Kher.