The International Film Festival of India (IFFI) got off to a glittering start in the Goan capital on Thursday evening with two of Indian cinema’s biggest superstars turning up for the inaugural ceremony.
Amitabh Bachchan and Rajinikanth were clearly the cynosure of all eyes at the star-studded event, with their hug onstage warming the hearts of all the cinema-lovers in attendance. The 45th edition of the festival was inaugurated by Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley. Bachchan, 72, the chief guest, gave an extensive speech on the evolution of Indian cinema, saying it had always played an important role in national integration.
“If popular perception is any indicator, then the major part of social transformation in India can be attributed to cinema’s potentially reformist character,” he said. “If the world is a village, we are the custodians of its stories,” Bachchan added, “If we don’t know the stories of our forefathers, we cannot write the story of today.” Rajinikanth, 63, was conferred with the Indian centenary personality of the year award. An audio-visual presentation on the Tamil superstar’s over three-decade career was shown at the ceremony. An emotional Rajinikanth touched Bachchan’s feet, addressing him as “big brother”.
“I came to receive this award but not to make a speech. I am honoured to receive this award from the government of India, and my heartful thanks to the nation. I dedicate this award to all my film producers, directors and fans,” he said.