The first Vijayawada International Film Festival got off on a low key at Navarang theatre here on Sunday.

Although every possible effort was made to make the event an exceptionally magnificent occasion, floods played spoilsport and the hype surrounding the event had to be scaled down in view of the nature’s fury that kept the entire district administration on its toes for the last few days.

Despite the fact that the deluge has taken much of the sheen off the six-day fare, a steady flow of film-lovers loyal to parallel cinema was seen at the venue on the very first day.

“The films screened at the show are not entertainment-oriented but they will stimulate your soul to believe and think. Film-lovers must enjoy this feast which is not to be missed at any cost,” said Telugu film director K.N.T. Sastry, a recipient of the national award winner at the inaugural function.

M.V. Raghu, known for his outstanding photography and who later turned to direction, went down the memory lane and shared his college days in the city. “I was one of the rowdies loitering in the streets of the city when I studied in SRR & CVR Government College,” he recalled amidst laughter. He urged people to enjoy good cinema and propagate about it to the world.

Director Mehar Ramesh regretted that he couldn’t contribute much to the festival this year except being a part of it as a guest. “But I promise to do my best to bring big directors to the festival next time,” he assured.

Tamil film director Kannan said cinema had no language barriers. “International cinema leaves an impact that stays for a long time,” he said.

Dedicated to YSR

The film festival Director Jampa Krishna Kishore said the festival was dedicated to the late Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy.

“ The late Dr. Reddy had not only promised to attend the festival but assured that he would make sure that it would be held at a grand scale on a par with a State festival,” he recalled. He said the festival must serve as a catalyst to project the city as a potential hub of cinema.

Secretary of the Vijayawada Hoteliers’ Association K. Pattabhi Ram assured all cooperation from the hoteliers of the city in the successful conduct of the event.

Film artist Charan, C. Umamaheswara Rao and a host of others were present on the occasion.

The inaugural was followed by the screening of Iranian film The Song of Sparrow.

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