US-Iran stars to power India's international film fest

Panaji, Nov 19 (IANS) One cannot look for a better sign of a thaw between US-Iran bilateral relations when powerhouse American actress Susan Sarandon and acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi share stage. The inaugural ceremony of the 44th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here Wednesday was the venue for the welcome augury.

Making an international bang is just the kind of message that festival director Shankar Mohan claims the organisers are keen on making.

Addressing the curtain-raiser press conference at the stately Macquinez palace in Panaji, Mohan, a union ministry of information and broadcasting official, said the invitation to the Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon was part of the plan to up the international profile of the festival.

"We have had Indian film stars at the inauguration ceremony, but it was a conscious decision to invite Susan Sarandon. She is an international star and this is an international event," Mohan said.

He also said that the international stature of the festival was gaining in ground and that several films that have been screened and have won accolades at the Goa festival have gone on to win the coveted Academy awards.

"We have been trying to get films nominated for the Oscars so that we get to see them first here," Mohan said, pointing to films like "Life of Pi" and "The Artist", which made a splash in Goa before going on to win the Oscar.

Nearly 326 films from 76 countries will be screened spread over 11 days at the IFFI this year.

While usual sections like the Indian Panorama, Country Focus and other aspects of the festival have been retained. But there are enough indications to show, that the festival organisers appear to be pushing the risque envelope.

A special section for the 44th edition of the festival is dedicated to poets, lovers and courtesans, which traces the musical journey of India cinema, through films which are dedicated to the emotional, sometimes tragic triad.

One of the best known exponents of 'New Wave Czech Cinema', Jiri Menzel will also receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at IFFI this year. Menzel's film "Don Juans" will also open the festival Wednesday.

Waheeda Rehman will also be honoured with the first Centenary Award for the Indian Film personality.

He also said that, "as digital cinema was gaining in stature as compared to cinema produced in the analogue format and that 80 percent of the films screened at the festival were recorded in analogue format. IFFI this year would see lot of digitally acclaimed films."

However, even as organisers, which includes both the Directorate of Film Festivals and Goa government's Entertainment Society of Goa, begin to roll out the red carpet for the event, there is much ill that continues to stand out as eye-sores despite the best attempts to cosmeticize the main venue.

A steady drip of sewage from the washrooms of the glittering festival venue flows into an open sewer outside the wall -- certainly not a pleasant spectacle for a festival which promises visual splendour.

Latest News

  • Earth Hour an attempt to connect with common man: Arjun Kapoor

    New Delhi, March 28 (IANS) The Earth Hour, which was observed starting 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, was a reminder to the common man to take time out from busy schedules for the cause of electricity conservation, says Bollywood actor and youth icon Arjun Kapoor, the brand ambassador for the annual activity since two years. The Earth Hour, organised by WWF, is a global movement uniting people to protect the planet. Last year, Delhi is said to have saved around 250 MW during Earth Hour. The …

  • AIFW: Designers bring on wild, military inspired fashion

    New Delhi, March 28 (IANS) The fourth day of the ongoing Amazon India Fashion Week here saw a glimpse of two different worlds through the collection of designer Pia Pauro and a range by designer trio Viral, Ashish and Vikrant. Pauro's collection drew inspiration from the savannah and the 'Burning Man' music festival. Pauro terms her collection as "easy and breezy". "The inspiration behind my collection is wild savannah and a music festival Burning Man, which is held in California. …

  • Praise from John Madden gives Tina 'terrific boost'

    Mumbai, March 28 (IANS) Starring in "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" itself was a privilege for actress Tina Desai, but getting praised by its director John Madden has made her Hollywood stint even sweeter for her. "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", a sequel to the 2012 film "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", featured a cast including Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Richard Gere, Lillete Dubey and British actor of Indian descent Dev Patel, apart from Tina. …

  • Ritesh Batra gets innovative to revive Mumbai's Irani cafes

    Mumbai, March 28 (IANS) "The Lunchbox" fame director Ritesh Batra is trying to revive Mumbai's Irani cafes with a series of events at select spots in the city. The first two sessions were held at Koolar Cafe and Kyani Bakery, while the third session - a candid chat with casting directors Atul Mongia and Seher Latif - was held on Friday at Excelsior Cafe. "My objective is to reinvent these cafes as cultural spaces to exchange ideas. It's very heartening to see full house at these events," …

  • Vidhu Vinod to host 'Broken Horses' screening for B-Town directors

    Mumbai, March 28 (IANS) A host of veteran and young Bollywood directors are likely to attend a special screening of Indian filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Hollywood project "Broken Horses" here on Monday. Chopra is hosting the screening of his maiden Hollywood venture, and it will be attended by the likes of Ramesh Sippy, Pradeep Sarkar, Sudhir Mishra, Sriram Raghavan, Abhishek Kapoor, Vikramaditya Motwane, Vikas Bahl, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Subhash Kapoor, Bejoy Nambiar and Nikhil Advani to name a …

  • Day 3 Of Fashion, Fabrics and Fashionistas!

    New Delhi, Mar. 28 (ANI): The 3rd day of ongoing Amazon India Fashion Week 2015 began with designer Paromita Banerjee's Up-Cycled Boro Collection. …

  • Post 'Bigg Boss', Gautam Gulati finds time management tough

    Mumbai, March 28 (IANS) Determined to ensure that his "Bigg Boss 8" victory doesn't go to waste, Gautam Gulati is making an all-out effort to market his popularity in every conceivable way including films. Now Gautam has a marketing team on board, and yet there is a lot of strain. After 'Bigg Boss', I am recognised and treated well. "In one, I play a conman, and in the other I am a film director." Beyond these details, Gautam is not willing to talk about his film projects yet. …

  • Big actors refused my film due to Sunny Leone: Bobby Khan

    Mumbai, March 28 (IANS) Filmmaker Bobby Khan, who roped in Sunny Leone for his movie "Ek Paheli Leela", says many known actors refused to work in it because of the presence of the Indo-Canadian adult film star. Khan told IANS: "Many big actors and known faces were approached for the film. They loved the script, but they refused it because Sunny belongs from the porn industry. It was very sad that many actors refused to do this film." After working with Sunny, Khan vouches for her …