The Incredibles & Alexander top draws at Goa
US blockbuster The Incredibles, Oliver Stone's controversial epic Alexander and Indian director Mira Nair's Vanity Fair will be star attractions at the International Film Festival starting on Monday, organisers said.
Organisers are billing the move to stage the event in palm-fringed Goa state, India's number one tourist destination with its long sandy beaches, as the country's riposte to France's Cannes film festival.
Some 2,000 movie buffs and celebrities are headed for Goa where more than 200 films from Asia, North America and Europe will be screened at the 11-day International Film Festival of India which ends December 9, they say.
Top Bollywood movie box office draws like Amitabh Bachchan, former Miss World Aishwarya Rai and Shahrukh Khan are set to attend the event while dozens of foreign film lovers are also due to turn up, adding international flavour.
It is the first time the annual film event - the 35th edition of the festival - is being staged in the coastal state of Goa, which has replaced New Delhi as the permanent host.
"Goa is an ideal place for film festivals given its extraordinary natural beauty and beaches," said Manohar Parrikar, Goa's Chief Minister.
Film buffs say the choice of Goa will enhance the festival's appeal as India seeks to compete head-on with a plethora of other international movie events.
"Around 2,000 people will attend the festival which will have some of the best movies made in the last two years internationally," Sudheer Nandgaonkar, a member of the festival organising committee, told AFP.
About 1,500 attended last year's festival in New Delhi.
The Goa government spent more than 1.20 billion rupees (26 million dollars) to build the infrastructure to host the festival that will be kicked off with a concert by popular Bollywood musician A. R. Rehman, who will play soundtracks from film hits including ones he scored.
One movie will be screened nightly on a giant screen erected on Goa's most popular beach, Miramar, while a big multiplex screening complex has been set up in Panaji, the Goa state capital.
The festival boasts seven main parts, including an Asian competition section, an Indian mainstream and retrospective portion and films from across the world along with tributes and hommages.
It opens with the screening of US-based Nair's Vanity Fair - a film based on a 19th-century English classic novel -- and closes with "Alexander". US cartoon movie success "The Incredibles" will also be shown.
"The three films and a host of others will be the key attractions at the festival this year," Nandgaonkar said.