Undeterred by the thunder and torrential rains, the 52nd International Film Festival of India (IFFI) started with a bang in Goa on Saturday. Movie buffs waded through waterlogged streets in Panaji to watch the opening film The King of all the World directed by Carlos Saura. More than 300 films from across the world will be screened at the IFFI from November 20 to 28.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur said that the government wants to make India a global hub for content generation and filmmaking. "We aim to make India a powerhouse of content generation. India is a land of storytellers. We want to share our stories and talents with the world," Thakur said. He emphasised that Indian regional cinema was scaling new heights. Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant made a plea for setting up a film city in Goa.
While anchors Karan Johar and Manish Paul had the audience in splits, Bollywood heartthrobs Ranveer Singh and Shraddha Kapoor enthralled the audience with their power-packed performances. Several celebrities like Riteish Deshmukh, Genelia, Khushboo to name a few graced the occasion. However, the star attraction of the evening was superstar Salman Khan. The crowds went ballistic when Khan started to perform on the stage. They kept cheering, "Sallu Bhai once more…"
Veteran actor Hema Malini and lyricist Prasoon Joshi got the ‘Indian Personality of the Year’ award at IFFI. Cinema stalwarts Martin Scorsese and Istevan Szabo were also honoured with the first ‘Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award’ at the festival. Both of them shared video messages as they could not attend the festival in person due to the pandemic. "I was amazed by Ray’s movies. He opened a new world of cinema to me. I see his films over and over again," said Scorsese. While Szabo said, "I am moved that you know my films. I met Mr Ray more than 30 years ago. We had a fantastic discussion about his films and film making."
For the first time, OTT platforms – SonyLIV, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Zee 5 and Viacom made a debut at the 52nd edition of IFFI. "We will continue to rope in OTT platforms in future festivals. OTT is the way ahead," said Thakur.
The minister also announced winners of ‘75 Creative Minds of Tomorrow’. "The youngest talent chosen is a 16-year-old from Bihar. Most of them are from various small towns and cities of India," Thakur said. The 75 students will get a chance to attend masterclasses and interact with experts from the film industry.