Ambika Soni, the Union Cabinet minister of Information and Broadcasting, has made several efforts to raise the profile of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which had a grand opening yesterday in Goa. Soni says that roping in Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan was also an attempt to add to its profile.
Talking to the PTI, Ambika Soni says, "This festival has something more than the last. The awards are bigger. There is a lifetime achievement award. We have the three dimensional and animation film sections. We have a football section. The Goans are great football fans. And for them we have put screens in the different fields in the city so that they can see the festival as it plays out in the different venues," she said.
According to Soni, the idea to rope in Shahrukh was also an attempt to add to the festival's profile. "I would like to say that we did not have to approach him through some powerful lobbies. We rang him up and said that we need you at the Goa international film festival where a large number of international film personalities would be there. We are trying to raise the profile of the International Film Festival of India, Will you come? And he only said 'yes'."
However, the opening function of the IFFI witnessed performances by the Shillong Choir group and a medley of Kathak, Kathakali, Manipuri and Lavani dance. The only sore point of the opening ceremony was a few hundred Goans standing on the approach road of the festival with black flags.
In her speech, Soni acknowledged the protest and said that some local representatives had met her regarding a change of dates in view of the St. Francis feast, who is also known as the patron saint of Goa. She said she would make efforts to see if a solution could be found.