IFFI 2014 ”“ a great experience in the company of talented people

Manju Gulzar












Manju with Gulzar

By Manju Mittal

International Film Festival of India, Goa is an annual event which I have been attending for the past 2 years. Goa is not only the biggest national festival but also is one of the most significant and oldest Film Festival in Asia. The 45th International Film Festival of India, Goa kicked off on November 20, 2014 with a parade of stars along its red carpet to the new venue where the festival opened with the presence of legendary actors Rajnikanth and Amitabh Bachchan, Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley, Goa Chief Minister Lakshmikant Parsekar, Bimal Julka Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting Government of India, Union Defence minister Manohar Parrikar and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.

Manju - amitabh and










Amitabh Bachchan with Rajnikanth cheif guests at IFFI 2014

The lighting of the lamp was attended by lyricist Gulzar Saheb, actors Amitabh Bachchan, Rajnikanth with his wife Latha, Goa Governor and Ragini Trivedi. Actors Anupam Kher and Ravina Tandan hosted the opening ceremony of the IFFI 2014. Amitabh Bachchan and Rajnikanth got a rousing cheer from the audience. The Chief Guest Amitabh Bachchan flashed a handsome smile while attending the opening ceremony and then sent out the inspiring message to his fans. Speaking on the occasion, he also 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. Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley, who also felicitated the International Jury, said in his speech that there could not be a better venue for the festival other than Goa, “Cinema entertains us, it educates us as it gives various social perspectives”. The Minister also said our cinema Industry has matured immensely, commercially it has grown. Secretary Ministry of Information & Broadcasting Government of India Bimal Julka said that IFFI is the oldest and the longest Film Festival in our country which sets out to showcase national as well as international films.

The highlight of the evening was the legend South King Rajnikant conferred with the Centenary Award for film personality of the year. Rajnikanth was the last to speak, he was brief after thanking Amitabh Bachchan for handing him the award and dedicated his award to his producers, directors, technicians and his fans. Another highlight of exhilarating to witness the performance of Shobhana who gave a stunning kathak dance performance. She also choreographed a 30 minutes presentation for the occasion. The curtains came down on the inaugural Ceremony and the audience moved to the adjacent Kala Academy for the screening of the Opening film. Director Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s film ”˜The President’ was chosen to open the festival. The inaugural film was well appreciated at the first day of festival. I personally liked it.

More than 150 films from 70 countries were shown in the IFFI this year. It was truly a joy to experience and watch films from all over the world with likeminded people and at times in the company of celebrities. Film selection was great, something for everyone from commercial to documentaries films. China was the focus country this year at IFFI. I ended up watching some great movies ”“ Iranian film Red Rose, Bandhon in Assamese, Marathi film Mitraa and Killa, Chinese film Genuine Love. I also enjoyed Australian Film Maker Paul Cox’s film ”˜Force of Destiny’ it was very emotional film that makes an ardent appeal for organ donation in our most unfriendly society. I questioned the director Paul Cox at Press Conference that he really believed in destiny and its natural force his quick repartee was ”˜Its like asking me if I believe in God’ yes I firmly believe in destiny. I believe in God but strictly don’t believe in Man made God. But I do believe in all scriptures omnipresent in the Bible and the Quran.’

Manju - Paul Cox











With Paul Cox

Another film I personally enjoyed watching ”˜Libaas’ by Gulzar Saheb, this film made in 1988 but never released. Libaas was indeed a masterpiece. I admire Gulzar Sahab for examining relationships, Libaas gives a searing look at marriage and talks about couples having extramarital affair. Seeli hawa chhu gayi…finally watched this song on screen and it was exhilarating to have Gulzar sahab watch this film with us. Gulzar Sahab came up on stage after the film screening for the Q & A session which was great. It gave an opportunity to ask and listen to the director and Dadasaheb Phalke award winner Gulzar Sahab. In its Retrospective section IFFI screened about eight best films of Gulzar Sahab this year at festival. Nana Patekar’s latest Marathi film Dr. Prakash Baba Amte directed by Samruddhi Porey, received a positive response from the audience at IFFI this year.

Manju - Anupam Kher









With Anupam Kher

IFFI has given me so much exposure and information about the festival, it has allowed me to see the excitement of crowd, the passion that they have for this special film festival. Apart from all that Film Festival is one of the best time to be in Goa and definitely the best time for a Bollywood buff like me. I had fantastic time meeting with many journalists, actors and film makers who seemed very interested in my newspaper – The Indian Down Under in Australia. I interviewed Nana Patekar, Anupam Kher, Satish Kaushik and many celebrities. I attended events as many of them as I could. Along with the premieres, the festival had open forums, Workshops, Master classes and interactions with directors and actors like Anupam Kher, Shekhar Kapoor, Karan Johar, Satish Kaushik, Subhash Ghai, David Dhawan and Ramesh Sippy. Actor Manoj Bajpayee inaugurated the Indian Panorama at the festival.

My favourite moment was at the festival as I stood in the lobby at Goa’s Marriot Hotel I caught Gulzar Saheb in his crisp white kurta smiling, looking very calm and relaxed despite Goa’s humid weather. We exchanged words and phone numbers. I spotted many celebrities at the Hotel lobby and commemorate the moment by getting pictures taken. The Film Bazaar was held at the Goa Marriott Resort from November 20 to 24. It was packed with script writing workshops, Producers meetings and Industry screenings where film makers introduced new film for potential distributers and film festival programmes. I absolutely loved the session at Fim Bazaar conducted with Popular film critic Rajiv Masand and Karan Johar talked about the ethos of Hindi Cinema. I found the Film venue by chance having just bumped into three friends from back home Australia, Event director Vikrant Kishore, Film Maker Stanley Joseph and Charles Thompson. Stanley Joseph’s ”˜My Cornerstone’ was also screened at the Film Bazaar. The hall was full and the audience responded to the film with strong applause. ”˜My Cornerstone’ is the 1st Australian Indian crossover film made in both countries and cinema history.

Like all good things come to an end, so did the film festival. Awards were announced at the closing ceremony with the presence of Veteran actress Waheeda Rehman as the Chief Guest. The Life Time Achievement Award was given to Internationally acclaimed Chinese Film Maker Wong Kar-Wai . Wong Kar said he was very honoured by the award. Russian film ”˜Leviathan’ won the Golden Peacock Award. Nadav Lapid won the Best Director Award for the Israeli Film ”˜The Kindergarten Teacher’. The Marathi film ”˜Ek Hajarachi Note’ won two awards the Special Jury Award and the Centenary Award for Best Film. Best Actor Female Award was shared by two actors both for their roles as teachers in different films, Alina Radriguez Cubun Film ”˜Behaviour’ and Sarit Larry ”˜Kindergarten Teacher’. Alexey Serebryakav got the Best Actor Male Award for his performance in ”˜Leviathan’ and Dular Sarkar also won the Best Actor Award for his Bengali Film ”˜Chhotober Chhobi’. ”˜The Grandmaster’ (Chinese Film) directed by Wong Kar-Wai was the closing film of International Film Festival of India.

Besides the festival I loved Goa for lot of other activities surrounded the festival which included street local concerts, Beach and Cruise parties, authentic Goa sea food, Konkani culture and people. It was truly a delight to hear Konkani language while they converse among themselves. During festival the promenade comes alive at night with food stalls, light decoration, artistic displays which attracted maximum crowd. The main attraction of this festival was IDPA (Indian Documentary Producers Associations) stall. IDPA is involved with education institutions that offer courses in Media & Communications.

Goa is an absolutely gorgeous place. I was very impressed with free taxi service from one venue to another. Festival director Shankar Mohan has been great force behind the festival with outstanding films attracting an impressive line up of Bollywood stars who with their presence gave us all curious ones a glimpse of the most famous film Industry in the world today. It was well courted, new permanent venue and extremely well organised. They did fantastic job of keeping the films on schedule. Press Conferences were well coordinated at a grand venue. They divulged the inner working of cinema to all the curious media persons who travelled from all over world.

The trip was really inspiring because not only did I get to experience a great film festival but I also met the most talented and amazingly passionate people during my ten days stay in Goa. I had been looked after well by Goa. I had lived every moment, every minute to be near the glamour not just of Bollywood, but Hollywood as well as film personalities from all over the world congregated in one place. It was the best experience ever and I plan to be there every year.
























Short URL: https://indiandownunder.com.au/?p=4392