New Delhi Correspondent
The western Indian state of Goa is known worldwide for its silver sandy beaches, bright sun and fun and frolic. On November 20, a splash of celluloid was added to it as the curtains went up on the 49th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Panaji, the capital city of Goa, amidst a galaxy of film stars and filmmakers.
The opening ceremony of the IFFI 2018 was anchored by Mandira Bedi and Amit Sadh and saw the presence of eminent Indian and international film personalities like Akshay Kumar, Karan Johar, Randhir Kapoor, lyricist Prasoon Joshi, Julien Landais, Barbara Meier, Nicolas Hau, Lois Robbins, Siddharth Roy Kapoor, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Robert Glinski, Tom Fitzpatrick, Poonam Dhillon, Hrishita Bhatt, Madhur Bhandarkar, Subhash Ghai, Arijit Singh, Ramesh Sippy and Chin Han among others. A host of celebrities walked the red carpet, adding a splash of glitz to the ceremony. The ceremony also witnessed some mesmerizing audio visual performances which started with a medley dance performance of songs from some of the best Indian films depicting the country’s vibrant history. Versatile singer Shilpa Rao sang popular songs from across the country in multiple languages such as Bengali, Punjabi and Hindi before actor Sonu Sood took over and set the stage on fire with his dance skills.
The most absorbing part of the ceremony was an informal chat between the three luminaries on stage–Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, junior minister for Information and Broadcasting, actor Akshay Kumar and filmmaker Karan Johar who engaged Rathore and Akshay Kumar in an informal chat on sports and cinema and their journey through their careers. Rathore is a former Indian army officer and winner of the Olympic Games silver medal.
Akshay Kumar spoke about his performance as the manager of the Indian Hockey Team in the recently-released film ‘Gold’ which is based on India’s historic gold medal win at the 1948 Olympics. Rathore spoke about how Indian sportsmen and women are excelling at the international level today and stressed the importance of cinema in building a vibrant sports culture
The International Competition Section of the Festival features films 15 films from 22 countries produced and co-produced, out of which 3 are Indian films vying for the Golden and Silver Peacock awards. The International Competition jury is headed by renowned by renowned Polish Director Robert Glinski and includes jury members such as Adrian Sitaru, Anna Ferraioli Ravel, Tom Fitzpatrick and India’s Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra.
The opening ceremony was followed by the screening of the Festival’s opening film and the world premiere of ‘The Aspern Papers’ based on a novella by Henry James. The cast and crew of the film was present on the occasion. IFFI 208 will close with the world premiere of German film ‘Sealed Lips’.