Smriti Irani ropes in Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan for IFFI festival in Goa

Updated: Nov 26, 2017, 14:44 IST | Upala KBR

Former TV actor ropes in industry bigwigs to turn muted IFFI festival into a glamorous event

An image of the then Information & Minister of State Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore slipping on a virtual reality gear at an exhibition at the 2016 International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa piqued curiosity. The festival, jointly conducted by the I&B Ministry, Directorate of Film Festival, and the government of Goa, had seen dignitaries like the then Chief Minister of Goa, Laxmikant Parsekar, and then I&B Minister Venkaiah Naidu in attendance.

Subhash Ghai and Shah Rukh Khan
Subhash Ghai and Shah Rukh Khan

The presence of film personalities at a film fest is imminent. The 47th edition welcomed Ramesh Sippy as chief guest, and saw the likes of Marathi filmmaker Nagraj Manjule, Nagesh Kukunoor, Satish Kaushik and Subhash Ghai, among others. A light sprinkle of faces from the silver screen — those of Kalki Koechlin, Nana Pateker, Pooja Hegde and Kunal Kapoor to name a few — were the highlights of the event. The actors spent their time watching the ongoing or posing for the paparazzi.

Smriti Irani with husband Zubin at IFFI 2017
Smriti Irani with husband Zubin at IFFI 2017

A regular at the Goa event would certainly be left dumbfounded at the ongoing 48th edition, which wraps up on Tuesday. IFFI 2017 is in no way comparable to its previous editions, with the muted fest suddenly getting a glamorous makeover under the leadership of I&B Minister Smriti Irani. Playing host to industry bigwigs like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif and Shraddha Kapoor, the festival has not only seen the presence of A-listers, but also been witness to their scintillating performances.

Shraddha Kapoor
Shraddha Kapoor

Shah Rukh Khan inaugurated the opening ceremony on November 21. While last year's fest was choreographed and performed by Ganesh Acharya, SRK took to the stage amid song and dance celebrations to mark this edition. He also shook a leg with Kailash Kher as the latter serenaded the audience. Shahid Kapoor's brother Ishaan Khatter made his red carpet debut at the fest, which kicked off with a screening of his Majid Majidi film, Beyond The Clouds. The young actor was also accompanied by Sridevi's daughter Janhvi, as the duo promoted their upcoming outing, Dhadak. With Sridevi inaugurating the Indian Panorama section, the fest kicked off on a high note.

Shahid Kapoor
Shahid Kapoor

The brain behind the glamourised event, festival director Sunit Tondon reveals, is Irani, who won acclaim as a small screen actor before her foray into politics. "The opening ceremony of IFFI 2017 was certainly grander and more star-studded than its previous editions. This was solely due to the vision of Mrs Smriti Zubin Irani. She comes from the entertainment industry and has a direct connect with industry bigwigs," says Tondon.

Ishaan Khatter with mother Neelima Azeem
Ishaan Khatter with mother Neelima Azeem

Sridevi paid homage to the cinema legends who passed away in the year, including Om Puri, Vinod Khanna and Tom Alter, among others. Also present were the likes of AR Rahman, Vishal Bhardwaj, Nana Patekar Prasoon Joshi, Rajkummar Rao, and filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj.

Diana Penty
Diana Penty

AR Rahman
AR Rahman

Another highlight of the festival will be the closing ceremony, which will mark performances by Sidharth Malhotra, Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif. Irani has left no stone unturned to ensure that the festival garners the much-needed attention that it did this year. Before the festival kicked off, she had even expressed gratitude to the industry, tweeting: "I am grateful for the industry's overwhelming support."

Janhvi Kapoor with father Boney and mother Sridevi
Janhvi Kapoor with father Boney and mother Sridevi

Tondon credits Irani for her understanding of the industry. "The presence of mainstream stars at an international film festival that celebrates films across regions, helps to draw attention to the wealth of cinematic excellence."

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