IFFI 2021: Let cinema be the new pandemic, says Actor Kiccha Sudeep

Veteran actor and director Biswajit Chatterjee conferred 'Indian Personality of the Year Award'.

Kichha Sudeep

The much-awaited 51st edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) kicked off at Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium at Panaji in Goa on Saturday with enthralling cultural performances and a dazzling ceremony celebrating the joy of cinema.

Addressing as the chief guest of the opening ceremony of Asia’s oldest and India’s biggest film festival, noted actor Kichha Sudeep said, “Let Cinema be the new pandemic”.

"Cinema is one fraternity that, from one seat, takes you all around the world, gets you the knowledge, gets you closer to the culture of every fraternity across the world," the actor added.

The opening ceremony, hosted by actor, author and film-producer Tisca Chopra, was graced by Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar and Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, besides other dignitaries.

Addressing the delegates, Javadekar said that 600 international entries and 190 Indian entries have been received this year, reflecting the huge importance the world attaches to it.

The union minister said that a beginning to private participation in film festivals will be made from 52nd IFFI, while stating that India needs to promote ‘Shoot in India’.

"Unlike other countries, India has multiple favourable destinations for shooting. Hence, we need to promote ‘Shoot in India’", the minister said.

The minister further said that film is not only a source of entertainment but also a big market.

“Human being is an imaginative being; films which appeal to the imagination make us laugh, cry and make us one, united in the story. If the story is told well, the film will become popular," Javadekar said.

The union minister also announced that veteran actor and director Biswajit Chatterjee has been conferred 'Indian Personality of the Year Award' while the "Lifetime Achievement Award" has been given to Italian cinematographer Vittorio Storaro.

Storaro has received three cinematography Oscars; he is a 'baadshah' in the world of cinema, the minister added.

Javadekar also virtually launched the 14th Edition of NFDC Film Bazaar, which will be held in a hybrid format, both offline and online. Film Bazaar is the largest South Asian film market. It encourages creative and financial collaboration between the South Asian and International film communities.

As Bangladesh is the focus country of the festival this year, the High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India Mohammad Imran was also present on the occasion.

"Apart from the recognition of the creativity and ingenuity of the film-makers of Bangladesh, it is also a testimony of the depth of relations and a historic bind between the two neighbouring countries, the High Commissioner said, while lauding the government of India for organising the festival amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We thank the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, for organizing this festival in this challenging time. It shows the commitment and courage you have to face and overcome the challenging situation as well as your passion and love for arts and culture," the High Commissioner added.

The 51st edition of IFFI will celebrate the work of legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray by showcasing five of his films, including Pather Panchali, Shatranj Ke Khilari, Charulata, Ghare BaireandSonar Kella.

On the occasion of the 150th Birth Anniversary of the father of Indian Cinema, four films by Dadasaheb Phalke will be screened. IFFI will also pay Homage to 18 film personalities who passed away in 2020, including Irrfan Khan, Rishi Kapoor, SP Balasubrahmanyam, Soumitra Chatterjee, Sushant Singh Rajput and Basu Chatterjee.

A total of 126 films from 60 countries will be showcased in International sections. 85 films out of these will be premiere screenings, including 7 World Premieres, 6 International Premieres, 22 Asian Premieres and 50 Indian Premieres, in the 51st IFFI.

First Published:Jan. 16, 2021, 7:44 p.m.

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