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Indian film festival kicks off in Tel Aviv

In his inaugural address, Indian Ambassador to Israel Arun Kumar Singh wished Ariel Sharon.

world Updated: Jan 06, 2006 11:33 IST

The Film Festival of India in Israel(FFII) opened to capacity crowds in Tel Aviv with the screening of Prakash Jha's latest film Apaharan.

In his inaugural address at the Tel Aviv chapter of the film festival on Thursday, Indian Ambassador to Israel Arun Kumar Singh wished ailing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who is battling for life in a Jerusalem hospital, a speedy recovery.

"All our thoughts and prayers are with the Prime Minister of Israel for his full and speedy recovery," he said.

Singh said the idea for the festival originated "in the tremendous and growing interest for Indian culture in Israel."

"Almost 30,000 Israeli youngsters travel to India every year and stay there for extended periods interacting and experiencing Indian culture," he said.

The Ambassador noted that Indian films featured prominently in various Israeli festivals and their success had led to the film festival dedicated to Indian films -- a joint Indian embassy and Israel Foreign Ministry collaboration.

Speaking on the occasion, director Prakash Jha said he was overwhelmed by the audience response to his film, which deals with the 'kidnapping' industry in Bihar.

"I am reminded of 'House Full' boards in India which is every filmmaker's dream," he said.

Other contemporary Indian films scheduled to be screened at the film festival till January 18 include Mr and Mrs Iyer(English), Mouna Ragam (Tamil), Vidheyan(Malayalam), Vastu Purush (Marathi) and Yahaan (Hindi).

Meanwhile, the Aamir Khan-starrer Mangal Pandey and Being Cyrus are slated to open the Jerusalem and Haifa editions of the FFII film festival.

First Published: Jan 06, 2006 11:33 IST