It was in Pune that I started my journey in 1945, says a nostalgic Dev Anand

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Actor Dev Anand (fifth from left), who inaugurated the Pune International Film Festival, with other dignitaries:
Actor Dev Anand (fifth from left), who inaugurated the Pune International Film Festival, with other dignitaries:

Siddhesh Inamdar

PUNE: Veteran actor Dev Anand inaugurated the eighth Pune International Film Festival (PIFF) here on Thursday.

“I am very emotional about Pune. Though I was not born here, this city gave birth to an actor called Dev Anand. It was here that I started my journey in 1945,” he said.

Talking about how he was able to carry on at age of 87, Mr. Dev Anand said: “When you are working at something, you don’t think of age.” He called cinema an “unparalleled discovery of life.”

It was a star-studded evening with Bollywood big names Rahul Bose, Konkana Sen, Subhash Ghai and Jackie Shroff, among others, descending on Pune, home to the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII).

Cultural capital

Padma Vibhushan Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, who presided, called Pune “the cultural capital of India” and congratulated the PIFF on setting up an international award in music and sound.

Oscar-winner Resul Pookutty was given a special felicitation. He thanked Pune, where he started his career “as a film student 14 years ago.” Pyarelal Sharma of the legendary Hindi film music composer duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal was given the Sachin Dev Burman international award for creative sound and music, which was instituted this year.

Rajesh Khanna honoured

Actor Rajesh Khanna was honoured with the lifetime achievement award. He said: “Forty years and 160 films later, I’ve reached this stage in life where I was considered worthy of a lifetime achievement award.”

Hindi and Marathi film and theatre actor Shreeram Lagoo too was given the lifetime achievement award. The 83-year-old actor said: “Without doubt, this is one of the finest days of life.” Summing up his long journey, he said, “When I was born, I was crying like all babies. But then someone shouted at me and asked me to shut up. I did so and started smiling. That was when I started acting!”

Festival director and film and theatre director Jabbar Patel said: “It’s by watching world cinema that we come to know about what’s happening in different countries. Films bring to us the socio-political and human scenarios in varied societies of the world.”

Maharashtra Finance Minister Sunil Tatkare attended the function.

Earlier in the evening, singer Sudesh Bhosale and his team sang many gems from Hindi films in tribute to the greats who were being honoured.

The inauguration was followed by the screening of About Elly from Iran.

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