Amitabh, Rajinikanth light up IFFI 2014 in style

The 45th International Film Festival of India being held in Goa had a star studded beginning. The occasion was graced by two of the reigning superstars of Indian cinema – Amitabh Bachchan and Rajinikanth. The festival was opened by Mr. Arun Jaitley, Minister of Information and Broadcasting. Bachchan was the chief guest at the festival. In his speech, he talked about the evolution of Indian cinema. He said, "If popular perception is any indicator, then the major part of social transformation in India can be attributed to cinema's potentially reformist character."

On the other hand, Rajinikanth was conferred a special centenary award and a screening of his selected works were held. The emotional actor touched Bachchan’s feet. In his acceptance speech he said, "I actually came to receive this award but not to make a speech and that too after Amitji's excellent speech. I have no words to speak. I am honoured to receive this award from the government of India and my heartful thanks to the nation. I dedicate this award to all my film producers, directors and fans”.

Some other leading personalities from the film world who attended the festival include Swedish director Jan Troell, Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi, and Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Zanussi. China is the focus country in this festival and 9 films from that country is being screened. In addition, 74 countries are participating and a total of 170 movies are to be shown. A few films by departed film personalities like Robin Williams, Zohra Sehgal, Richard Attenborough, Farooq Shaikh and Suchitra Sen will also be shown as a mark of respect. The opening film of the festival is 'The President' by the Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf. The film has been inspired by his travels to Darul Aman Palace in Kabul.

The festival was opened with a gala ceremony held at the newly erected Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium and the ceremony was hosted by Anupam Kher and Raveena Tandon. It started with a half hour long dancing tribute by the national award winning troupe of Shobhana Pillai. It paid homage to the greatest dancing legends of Indian cinema like Vyjayanthimala, Waheeda Rehman and Kamal Haasan.

Chief Minister of Goa, Mr. Laxmikant Parsekar said, "We accept the challenge and the infrastructure required for hosting the film festival would be ready by IFFI 2015." The beautiful natural setting of the state and the warm hospitality of its people has helped to inaugurate the prestigious festival with a glittering start.