The opening ceremony of the International Film Festival of India 2019 (IFFI 2019) was as big as it could get. With two megastars — Rajinikanth and Amitabh Bachchan — sharing the stage and Karan Johar anchoring the event, this year's ceremony saw a heavy dose of popular cinema.
Rajinikanth was conferred the 'Icon Of Golden Jubilee Award' for his contribution to Indian cinema. It's a first time award beginning with the 50th edition of IFFI. French actress Isabelle Huppert was given the Lifetime Achievement Award.
In a candid moment, Rajinikanth expressed happiness to receive the award from his friend Amitabh Bachchan.
Bachchan, in his address, said, “I have no words to express my gratitude to IFFI for honouring me and having a retrospective of my films." Many of his milestone films are going to be screened at the festival this year.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar talked about the single window clearance system for filmmakers. He said, “India has lots of scenic and beautiful shooting sites for national and international films but shooting at these locations requires around 15-20 permissions. Government is now preparing for single window arrangement which will take care of all the permissions and it will benefit places like Goa, Leh-Ladakh and Andaman and Nicobar.”
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said that the IFFI package this year is an interesting mix of leisure and entertainment. “It bridges the gap between India and international film industry and provides the opportunity to explore cinema,” he said.
However, these were not the only highlights of the day, as musician Shankar Mahadevan and his band collaborated with Louis Banks to perform a terrific ‘jugalbandi.’
Among the guests were the Chairman of IFFI International Jury John Bailey, filmmakers Priyadarshan, N Chandra and Ramesh Sippy, actress Divya Dutta and CBFC chief Prasoon Joshi. A commemorative postage stamp of 50th IFFI was also revealed during the ceremony.
The festival opened with Italian film Despite the Fog directed by Goran Paskaljevic. The cast and crew of the film also participated in the screening.
The 50th International Film Festival of India 2019 will witness over 200 acclaimed films from 76 countries, with Russia as the country of focus. It also includes 26 feature films and 15 non-feature films in the Indian panorama section. The festival will end on November 30.
Follow @News18Movies for more