Amitabh Bachchan to be invited to IFFI in Goa

Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan will be invited to this year’s International Film Festival of India (IFFI), to be held in Goa, this November. Invitation will be sent to the legendary actor after a gap of several years. The Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) has started the invitation process. The Entertainment Society of Goa is the nodal agency which is responsible for organizing the IFFI every year.

It was established by the state government in 2004, the year in which the festival first shifted to Goa. It was also Amitabh’s first and till date only appearance at the IFFI during the time it has been held in Goa. The festival was originally held in Delhi and was shifted to Goa during the 35th edition. That year Big B was present as the ambassador for HIV/AIDS awareness campaign. He was also present during the screening of a critically acclaimed South African film on the subject. 

Bachchan’s absence from the festival for such a prolonged period has been subject of controversy. On one occasion, he was invited but then the invitation was withdrawn at the last moment. The erstwhile Congress party led government in Goa was blamed for this. It was said that the congress government did not want to invite Big B because of his less than friendly relations with the Nehru-Gandhi family. The congress party however, has always denied that there was any political motive behind not inviting Bachchan. Apparently, the situation has changed now that the congress party has gone from power. 

Damodar Naik, Vice-Chairman of ESG said in his statement to PTI, “We have already begun a process to invite Amitabh Bachchan for the festival. We all are his fans. I will be personally happy if he comes to Goa to attend the festival.” The vice chairman hoped that the presence of the actor will make the festival more important and popular.

It will be interesting to see whether this year the ice between the organizers and the actor finally melts. Naik also added that organizing work for the festival has already begun. He said, “The opening and closing ceremonies for the festival would be held at Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee stadium, Bambolim, a complex which was built to host recently-concluded Portuguese Commonwealth games. The stadium can host 9,000 people.” The central government has recently announced Goa as the permanent venue for the IFFI. The IFFI is scheduled to be held in Goa, from 20th to 30th November, 2014.