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A grand ceremony marks the end of the 51st edition of IFFI

Amitabh Bachchan

The 51st edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa came to a close on Sunday after a grand closing ceremony. While actors Zeenat Aman and Ravi Kishan were the guests of honour, veteran actor, director and producer Biswajit Chatterjee was presented with the Indian Personality of the Year Award.

Lauding the organisers of the festival during the present extraordinary times, the Governor of Goa, Bhagat Singh Koshiyari said, “Cinema is uniting not only our country, but our neighbouring countries as well. I salute Indian cinema and filmmakers. Film festival is an opportunity to learn and to remind us that the whole world is one, despite differences. Cinema touches the heart, not the mind; it comes not from the mind but from the heart.”

The Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Babul Supriyo stated that this edition of IFFI had conquered all ifs and buts and emerged as the perfect platform for excellence. “IFFI 51 is a one-of-kind achievement, given that we organized this in a hybrid mode amidst the pandemic. The festival edition has conquered all ifs and buts to ensure that there is no if when it comes to ensuring the bonding and closeness between us human beings.”

Veteran actor Biswajit Chatterjee was bestowed with the Indian Personality of the Year Award. Thanking the Government, he observed, “When Bangladesh was being attacked, genius director Rithwik Gatak was with me in Mumbai and we used to get inspired by the speeches of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Then as per Rithwik Da’s suggestion, we made the documentary ‘There Flows Padma, The Mother River’; I later went to Dhaka and presented it to Bangabandhu. I found two paintings in his room, those of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.”

In a video message, actor Amitabh Bachchan said: “The world went through an unprecedented situation. IFFI is a great example of transforming challenges into opportunities. The festival was conducted in hybrid mode in a wonderful fashion. I thank everyone who made IFFI possible, especially the Government of India for keeping cinema alive during these difficult times.”

The Festival witnessed more than 126 films from 60 countries which included 50 Indian premiers, 22 Asian premiers, 7 World premieres and 6 international premiers. Bangladesh was the focus country this year and films Rupsa Nodir Banke and Jibandhuli directed by Tanvir Mokammel, Meghmallar by Zahidur Rahman Anjan, Under Construction by Rubaiyat Hossain and Sincerely Yours, Dhaka by Nuhash Humanyun, Syed Ahmed Shawki and 9 other individual directors were screened at the festival.

Anders Refn-directed Danish film Into the Darkness (De forbandede år) which portrays the story of a Danish electronics factory owner who is forced to produce for the occupying Nazi forces, won the coveted Golden Peacock Award.  The Award consists of a cash prize of Rs. 40 lakhs.