The winds blew from the South at the ongoing 40th International Film Festival of India here on Tuesday. The festival, into its second day, exhibited a distinct southern flavour with popular Telugu stars Nagarjuna and Amla being felicitated at the ‘Moments with the Maestros’ section.
Earlier, renowned director K. Viswanath’s masterpiece Shankarabharanam was screened to a tumultuous response, as was A.K. Lohitadas’s Malayalam film Bhoothakkannady.
Speaking on the sidelines of the felicitation, Nagarjuna, who was mobbed by fans and the media, expressed his gratitude at being invited to the festival. “I am a student of cinema. It is truly humbling to be here and share the same space as the likes of Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, music directors Ravi and Anandji and others. I learnt here that Rafi Sahab has sung many songs for Telugu films.”
Ravi, who has scored for countless Hindi and Malayalam films over 50 years, was felicitated along with Anandji, who formed the formidable team of Kalyanji-Anandji from the 1960s onwards. Also, a documentary paying tribute to Mohammad Rafi, “Tum Bahut Yaad Aaye,” was screened under the Maestros section.
Goa Chief Minister Digamber Kamat expressed his happiness at the presence of Nagarjuna, Ravi and Anandji. “When I became the CM, I deliberately retained the art and culture portfolio with me as I did not want any artist to suffer hardship at the fag end of his career. Today, I am proud to felicitate artists who have brought laurels at the national and international levels… whose works have directly touched the hearts of film and music lovers.”
Earlier in the day, the Indian Panorama section was inaugurated with the screening of the Konkani film Paltadcho Manis by Laxmikant Shetgaonkar. Speaking at the inauguration, chairman of the feature film jury Muzaffar Ali revealed that the jury had to see more than 100 films to select the final 26 that were to be shown as part of the Indian Panorama.
Incidentally, Panorama has come in for criticism for repeating some films that were shown at the festival earlier in other sections.
Asked to explain the anomaly, S.M. Khan, Director of the Directorate of Film Festivals, said: “Last year Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye was premiered here. The film [was] released after September last year and was picked for the Panorama section by the jury.
“We cannot interfere in the work of the jury. And had the film been denied the opportunity to be shown at the Panorama, its director would have lost out on the chance to screen it at various international festivals across the world. A premiere is not sufficient for that.”