Rajinikanth, Big B light up 45th IFFI inaugural

MUMBAI: The 45th edition of the IFFI got off to a glittering start at a ceremony here amid the towering presence of legendary actors Rajinikanth and Amitabh Bachchan, Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and ewly-installed union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

The 11-day International Film Festival of India held in the state capital will screen 179 films from 75 countries across different categories which include World Cinema (61 films), Masterstrokes (11 films), Festival Kaleidoscope (20 films), Soul of Asia (7 films), Documentaries (6 films), and Animated Films (6 films).

Fifteen films, from across the globe, including two from India are competing for the coveted Golden Peacock awards at the festival.

Speaking on the occasion, the chief guest Amitabh Bachchan said that a darkened cinema hall was one of the greatest examples of human integration in a world that was fast disintegrating.

“When we sit inside a darkened hall, we never ask the caste, creed, religion of the person sitting next to us… In this fast disintegrating world of ours, where will you find such a better example of human integration, than a cinema hall?” Bachchan said at the end of an emotive, but informative presentation on the evolution of Indian cinema.

To thundering applause, Bollywood’s living legend also recited a stanza from his father Harivansh Rai Bachchan poem “Himmat karne walon ki haar nahin hoti”. He also made a strong case for Indian popular cinema, which he said, despite ridicule and criticism was finally making its way to the global arena.

Jaitley, who along with Bachchan awarded the Centenary award for Film personality of the Year to Rajinikanth, said that while cricket is religion in India, cinema has been the country’s “alternative religion”.

“It entertains us, it educates us, it gives us various social perspectives. Young growing minds learn more from it, than even from formal methods of education. It throws up men and women of great talent,” said Jaitley.