The 54th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) opening that hit the right notes on the entertainment front on Monday, November 20, 2023, witnessed a low celebrity count on the red carpet, the noteworthy among them being only Madhuri Dixit, Vijay Sethupathi, Sunny Deol, Shahid Kapoor, Sara Ali Khan, Karan Johar and few others.
Last year's IFFI opening ceremony was nothing less than a hit movie, with stars like Manoj Bajpayee, Ajay Devgn, Suniel Shetty, Varun Dhawan, Sara Ali Khan and Kartik Aaryan making glamourous entries that had their fans asking for more. However, this year, Bollywood stars Shriya Saran, Pankaj Tripathi, Shantanu Moitra, Shreya Ghoshal, and Sukhwinder Singh failed to bring up that enthusiasm.
Madhuri Dixit, who illuminated the evening, received the Special Recognition for Contribution to Bharatiya Cinema award. Her deep connection with the audience and fans was seen when she warmly greeted the audience in Konkani with a heartfelt ‘kashe asa’ at the Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium, Bambolim.
Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Singh Thakur, welcomed the delegates and seized the opportunity to announce an enhancement in the incentive for foreign film productions. The revised incentive will cover approximately 40 per cent of the expenses, with an increased capacity limit from Rs 2.5 crore to Rs 30 crore.
Stating that Indian films have a profound cultural impact not only on the lives of Indians but also on those in South Asia and beyond, Thakur asserted that India, currently the fifth largest economy and fifth largest market for media and entertainment, will soon ascend to the third position, driven by a growth rate of 20 per cent.
He declared that over the next eight days, Goa would be enveloped in the grandeur of IFFI, a spectacle of creativity, cinematic excellence and pure entertainment, an entertainment that truly embodies the spirit of ‘Sabka Manoranjan’ (entertainment for all).
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant expressed his unwavering commitment to transforming Goa into a thriving film hub and said that the Entertainment Society of Goa has already floated the tender for a film city and the process fast-tracked.
He elaborated on Goa’s burgeoning stature as a destination for diverse events, ranging from weddings and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) to sports events and conventions.
He emphasised on the ongoing process of establishing a film city in Goa, a testament to the State’s dedication to fostering the growth of the entertainment industry.
Sawant said Konkani cinema has found a place at IFFI and this year the festival will celebrate Goan films under two distinct sections.
The entertainment of the opening ceremony featured performances by Bollywood superstars Madhuri Dixit and Shahid Kapoor.
Shriya Saran, Nushratt Bharucha, Pankaj Tripathi, Shantanu Moitra, Shreya Ghoshal and Sukhwinder Singh also performed at the inaugural.