Panaji: With a musical ode to the evolution of Indian cinema, the 46th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) got off to a flying start in presence of cinema stalwarts and the screening of a biopic based on the life of Indian mathematician Ramanujan.
The opening ceremony witnessed a slight hiccup when two protesters, believed to be FTII students, raised anti-festival slogans demanding the removal of Gajendra Chauhan, from the stands.
Dev Patel, Director Matthew Brown and others at the 46th International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2015), in Panaji, Goa on Thursday. PTI Photo
They were detained by security personnels but it created a fluster in the gathering.
Information & Broadcasting minister Arun Jaitley along with chief guest Anil Kapoor conferred the 'Centenary Award for Indian Personality of the Year' to maestro Ilaiyaraaja for his outstanding contribution to the music industry.
Kapoor's "Slumdog Millionaire" star Dev Patel, whose film "The Man Who Knew Infinity" opened the festival, was also in attendance.
During his inaugural address, Jaitley said that IFFI gave filmmakers a chance to interact with fellow filmmakers and provided opportunities to showcase the best of domestic and international talent.
"A film festival is big event all around the world. IFFI has made a place for itself in the world festival circuit. This year is also a big step forward," Jaitley said. He praised the dance-based homage to Indian cinema, which was choreographed by Terence Lewis.
"I am personally delighted to be associated with this function. The colourful take on the evolution of Indian cinema is wonderful. I say this with immense sense of pride that what India has achieved is great. There can't be a better opportunity than a film festival to celebrate cinema," he said.
Anil, 58, was visibly emotional as he took to the stage and reflected on his 40-year-old career and said he is humbled to have been invited as a chief guest for such a prestigious event.
"I am very emotional today. Thus is a great platform to reunite with my colleagues like (Shekhar Kapur). This kind of gathering gives me a lot of energy," Anil said.
Anil treated his fans to his signature dance moves as he displayed his energetic side while shaking his leg to his hit song "Dhak Dhak" and "my name is lakhsn".
"I know I am supposed to be serious at an event like this. People had told me to keep calm here but I am an entertainer and I will do so."
Kapur, the chairman of the international competition jury took to the stage to thank former Goa Chief Minister and current Defence Minister Manohar Parikar to take up his suggestion and shift the festival to Goa permanently.
"I had met Mr Parikar and requested him to take IFFI to Goa permanently and he kept his promise and brought the carnival here. I can't thank him enough," he said.
He introduced his fellow jury members- Michael Radford from UK, Julia Jentsch from Germany, Suha Arraf from Israel and Jeon Kyu-Hwan from South Korea.
Chief Minister of Goa, Laxmikant Parsekar in his address said that Indian Cinema produced in national and regional languages represented India's unity in diversity and IFFI had developed itself into a respectable film festival in Asia.
The evening was hosted by Ayushman Khuranna and Aditi Rao Hydari and was attended by Patel, his co-star Devika Bhise, "Bajrangi Bhaijaan" helmer Kabir Khan, actress Sonakshi Sinha, among other film personalities.
Jaitley along with Sinha, Bhise and Khan launched a book on Dada Sahab Phalke Award winners.
This year's festival will showcase 187 films from 89 countries, in the World Cinema section and 26 feature and 21 non-feature films in Indian Panorama section Spain is the focus country at the 11-day festival this year. The films of Spanish filmmakers Carlos Saura and Pedro Almadovar along with contemporary filmmakers like Alejandro Amenabar would be screened. The section would also feature Spanish actress Leticia Dolera's directorial debut.