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IFFI 2014 off to a colourful start, Rajinikanth receives Centenary Award

Renowned actor Amitabh Bachchan and Information & Broadcasting, Minister Arun Jaitley presenting the centenary award to Tamil megastar Rajinikanth, at the inauguration of the 45th International Film Festival of India, in Panaji, Goa on November 20, 2014.
Renowned actor Amitabh Bachchan and Information & Broadcasting, Minister Arun Jaitley presenting the centenary award to Tamil megastar Rajinikanth, at the inauguration of the 45th International Film Festival of India, in Panaji, Goa on November 20, 2014.
The 45th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI 2014) got off to a colourful start here yesterday with a series of enthralling performance that evoked nostalgic memories of the years gone by.
 
Goa Governor Mridula Sinha lit the traditional lamp to mark the beginning of the festival in the presence of Union Finance and Information & Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and Union Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore.
 
Renowned actor Amitabh Bachchan was the chief guest on the occasion, while Tamil mega star Rajinikanth was presented with the Centenary Film Personality of the Year Award for his lifetime contribution to Indian cinema on the occasion. The award consisted of a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh, a certificate and the Silver Peacock Medal. It was instituted last year to commemorate 100 years of Indian cinema 
 
Rajinikanth received the Centenary award from Mr Jaitley and Mr Bachchan and dedicated it to his producers, directors, co-stars, technicians and fans.
 
The international jury of the festival -- chairman Slawomir Idziak, cinematographer and filmmaker from Poland, Zhang Jianya, a filmmaker from China, Marie Brenner, a New York-based writer, Indian actress Seema Biswas and Nadia Dresti, the head of International Locarno Film Festival -- were amongst those present.
 
Actors Anupam Kher and Raveena Tandon were the comperes of the opening ceremony.
 
The highlight of the evening was a captivating performance by Malayalam actress and dancer Shobhana Pillai and her troupe, which took the audience down the memory lane of popular dance sequences from Indian films, including numbers such as “Hothon pe aisi baat mein dabaake chali ayee” and “Piya tose naina lage re”.
 
Other celebrities present on the occasion included actors Satish Kaushik, Manoj Bajpai and Roopa Ganguli. 
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bachchan traced the history of Indian cinema, touching on the issues and various aspects of Indian life as depicted on the silver screen.
 
"Those who do not know the stories of their forefathers, cannot write their own," he said.
 
Mr Jaitley said the Indian film industry had come of age in view of the diversity it offered in terms of the numbers of films produced in different languages and themes.
 
Cinema today acted as an "alternate religion" to cricket in India as it entertained, educated, gave a social perspective to issues, offered young growing minds the vision to learn and nurture talent, he said.
 
A dance performance at the inauguration of the 45th International Film Festival of India, in Panaji, Goa on November 20, 2014.
A dance performance at the inauguration of the 45th International Film Festival of India, in Panaji, Goa on November 20, 2014.
Mr Jaitley said cinema had matured as a medium in the country and corporatization had made it more professional and vibrant. He also spoke of the National Film Heritage Mission to create a digital record of Indian cinema.
 
"The President" directed by eminent Iranian film maker Mohsen Makhmalbaf was the opening film of the festival. 
 
As many as 178 films from 79 countries will be screened during the 11-day event in various sections: World Cinema (61 films), Master-strokes (11), Festival Kaleidoscope (20), Soul of Asia (7), Documentaries (6), Animated Films (6). 
 
Besides, the Indian Panorama section will include 26 Feature and 15 Non-Feature Films. 
 
Seven films from the North-East, the focus region of the festival, would be showcased. There will also be retrospectives on Gulfzar and Jahnu Baruah, special homage films on Richard Attenborough, Robin Williams, Zohra Sehgal and Suchitra Sen and a special tribute to Farooq Shaikh.
 
A special section of films that focus on dance, personality-based retrospectives, and Masterclasses/workshopswould also form a part of IFFI 2014. 
 
The open air screening of Indian films for the general public free of cost on first come first served basis would be a new attraction in IFFI 2014. Besides the world premieres, IFFI 2014 offers activities such as the Film Bazar, 3D Film Shows and Panel Discussions.
 
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