IFFI closes amid B-town star presence, drama over ‘S Durga’

Panaji, Nov 28- The 48th edition of IFFI drew to a close today with Bollywood celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar making it a starry affair even though “S Durga” director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan could not succeed in getting the nod to screen his film at the fest.

IFFI drew to a close today with Bollywood celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar

The festival, which opened on November 20, amid the presence of superstars Shah Rukh Khan, Shahid Kapoor and Sridevi, stuck to being a star-studded celebration, but the “S Durga” controversy seemed to outshine the B-Town glamour.

Even on the last day of the festival, when crowds gathered at the Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee stadium here to get a glimpse of their favourite superstars, Sasidharan tried in vain to get his film screened, which at the last moment was directed to be re-examined by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

The letter was issued to Sasidharan one hour before the beginning of the closing ceremony. He also received a letter from festival director Sunit Tandon, who informed him that the film cannot be exhibited till the censor certificate issues were resolved.

The two-hour-long closing ceremony started after the final call on the screening of “S Durga” was taken by the jury and the festival organisers. The Panorama jury saw the censored version of the film day before yesterday.

The ceremony, hosted by filmmaker Karan Johar, Sonali Bendre and “Dangal” actor Zaira Wasim, started on a musical note with singer Papon performing one of his most popular songs “Moh moh ke dhaage’.

Salman, who made a surprise entry on the stage following the performance could not speak much due to bad throat, but gave the audience some memorable moments with his chat with “Tubelight” child actor Matin Rey Tangu.


“My voice is gone. But I have come to Goa, because I love this place and the people,” he said.

Salman and Matin also recreated the “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” scene from their film “Tubelight”.

The evening went forward with the awards announcement. The first award was the ICFT UNESCO Gandhi Medal, which was given to director Manoj Kadam for his film “Kshitij: A Horizon”.

French drama film “120 Beats Per Minute”, directed by Robin Campillo, won the biggest honour of the night, the Golden Peacock Award.

Actors Nahuel Perez Biscayart from France and India’s Parvathy Thiruvoth Kottuvatta, received the Best Actor Male and Female awards respectively. They were given a Silver Peacock, a certificate and cash prize of Rs 10 lakh each. While Malayalam film “Take Off”, directed by Mahesh Narayan, won the Special Jury Award, Chinese filmmaker Vivian Qu received the Best Director Award for her film “Angels Wear White”.

Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan was honoured the Lifetime Achievement Award

Indian actor Katrina Kaif, High Commissioner of Canada to India Nadir Patel and Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Smriti Irani presented the award to Egoyan.

“I am overwhelmed. Cinema of India has been important to my career. The incredible tradition of authorship and integrity has inspired my cinema. And to be in this country and receive this award is an honour. This award is a symbol of great friendship between India and Canada. It is a very important relationship,” Egoyan said.

Bachchan was named the Indian Personality of the Year at the IFFI. To honour the Bachchan, Sidharth Malhotra delivered a tribute dance performance on the veteran actor’s popular songs, while Akshay Kumar called him the “father of Indian cinema”.

Bachchan, 75, chose the occasion to highlight the power of cinema saying it brings people together irrespective of their caste, colour, creed or religion.

“I have always felt that my request and regard for the Indian film industry have rested in the presence the film industry has had in our world. When we sit inside a dark hall we never ask the creed, the colour (or) the religion of the person sitting next to us.

“We see the same film, we laugh on the same joke, we cry on the same emotion, we sing the same songs. In this fast world of today, where can you find such a wonderful and worthy example of unity and integration as we do in the world of cinema,” he said in his acceptance speech.

The evening ended with all the stars and political leaders coming together on stage and saying goodbye to IFFI 2017, with a promise to return next year on a bigger and better scale. PTI