Lalitha Kala Thoranam gets a quick facelift on the eve of the18th International Children’s Film Festival India

The minarets are almost up. The smell of fresh paint being slapped on the walls, doors, grills and roof fills the air. The entire Public Gardens, on Tuesday evening, bore evidence of an important event — indeed it’s gearing up for the Golden Elephant — the 18th International Children’s Film Festival India (ICFFI), which will be inaugurated today at Lalitha Kala Thoranam.

The sight of the venue confirms the preparations for the gala inaugural evening. Reels of thick black electrical cables to be used for extra lighting for the fest lie on the pavements nearby. . Workers are busy sawing, scraping, sweeping, polishing and nailing at all corners of the venue.

Inside the Lalitha Kala Thoranam, a new wooden frame has been set up on the balcony to form a platform for additional seating arrangement. The platform is made to increase the height of the balcony so that children can get a clear view of the proceedings. On the stage, cylindrical shapes painted to resemble pillars of different height and sizes have been installed. Next to the pillars on the pathway that leads to the stage, blue conical structures which we mostly see as part of forts and palaces in fairy tales get their finishing touches.

Elsewhere, the boundary walls of the open amphitheatre have posters of the film fest. Outside the hall stands an inflated Golden Elephant — the beloved mascot for the fest. Overhanging branches of trees on the path that leads from the gate to the amphitheatre are being cut and the bushes all around the area are being cleared.

The moss laden blue-tiled fountain on the lawns of the amphitheatre, which is spruced up only on special occasions, is being cleaned with industry acid. It will also need a good scrub before it can be filled with water and illuminated to give the venue the much awaited grandeur and festive look.

The excitement at the festival venue is palpable. In anticipation of a huge turnout, the security will be strict; visitors will be screened at several gates before they enter the theatre. Organisers hope to see children turnout in huge numbers beginning this evening.

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