IFFI's tribute to Nargis
The 35th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) which begins here tomorrow with Goa as the permanent venue for the first time, promises to be "bigger and better" than all the other previous festivals.
More than 200 films will be screened during the 12-day festival and organisers are expecting 5,000 delegates and special invitees to witness the gala event.
Mira Nair's much awaited film Vanity Fair, starring Hollywood actress Reese Witherspoon, will be the opening movie while Oliver Stone's Alexander, which many claim to be the most expensive Hollywood movie ever made, will be the closing film of the festival.
The festival this year will not just restrict itself to screening films, organisers said, pointing out that the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) has set up a Film Bazaar at the venue in an attempt to market Indian films to buyers and showcase the country's talent.
Acclaimed music director AR Rahman would also perform live with his 60-men orchestra on the opening day tomorrow. Rahman's show will include some songs from Subhash Ghai's forthcoming film Kisna.
Since Goa has been chosen as the permanent venue for the festival, the state government has gone all out to build infrastructure required for the event, spending more than Rs 120 crore in roads, renovation of the Kala Academy- the main venue for the festival- and a brand new multiplex with four screens.
Also Bollywood blockbusters and films like ET and Gladiator will be screened at the Miramar beach near Panjim on a giant plasma screen.
Whether or not Goa is able to measure up to Cannes and Berlin as prominent film festival venues is a matter that can be decided at the end of the festival when the jury will be out on how well the event was organised.
Roads in the city have been widened and government buildings given a new look. For the next 12 days, Goa is ready to eat, sleep and breathe films. Even the government officers get an unexpected windfall as all state government offices have been ordered to close down after 2 PM to facilitate traffic during the festival.
The festival has been divided into seven sections, including the Indian Panorama, Cinema of the World, the Asian Competition and Special Screenings.
Anup Kurien's Mansarovar will be the opening film of the Indian Panorama, which will also feature India's entry to the Oscar's Shwaas.
The World Panorama will feature 5 into 2 from France and Fracture from New Zealand, among others.
To mark the 50th year of screening of Satyaji Ray's classic PatherPanchali, the festival will have a special screening of the film.
Tributes will also be paid to producer Yash Johar, actress Nargis and comedian Mehmood. Evergreen actor Dev Anand will pay a special tribute to his brother Vijay Anand, talking about his lifetime before Guide is screened.
This year's retrospectives include a package of Ashok Amritraj's films and Italian actor Vittorio Gassman's work.
Bharat Bala's HariOm and Buddhadev Dasgupta's Swapan Din will also be premiered at the festival.