The 51st edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) concluded amid fanfare, felicitations and cultural performances. The nine-day festival, founded in 1952, saw participation from the who’s who of the world of cinema. The first-ever hybrid IFFI, incorporating physical and virtual screenings and sessions, recognised cinematic works from across the globe. Even the NFDC Film Bazaar was held in a hybrid format.
The last film screened at the festival was Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Japanese film Wife of A Spy. The director through a video message said, “It’s a huge honour that my film has been selected as the closing film of IFFI. The film has reached beyond the sea and I believe it tells you eloquently rather than I speaking about it.”
Among the signature festival sections, the Retrospective Section showcased classics of legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray. Four films by Father of Indian cinema Dadasaheb Phalke were screened to commemorate his 150th birth anniversary. In the year gone by, the Indian film industry lost many jewels. The 51st IFFI paid homage to 18 film personalities including Irrfan Khan, Rishi Kapoor, Soumitra Chatterjee, Sushant Singh Rajput and Basu Chatterjee.
The closing ceremony of the 51st IFFI, held on 24 January 2021 at Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium at Talegaon, was no less glittery than the opening ceremony or the festival itself. Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Babul Supriyo, Maharashtra and Goa Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Goa Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant and several cinema personalities were present at the closing ceremony.
The Union Minister lauded the spirit of the festival and noted, “IFFI 51 is a one-of-its-kind achievement, given that we organised this in a hybrid mode amidst the pandemic.”
Governor Koshyari complimented the organisers for making it possible in the most extraordinary circumstances. “Cinema is uniting not only our country, but our neighbouring countries as well,” he said while addressing the audience.
CM Dr Pramod Sawant welcomed filmmakers from across the nation and the world to visit Goa to shoot their films.
Ministry of I & B Secretary Amit Khare noted, “The festival marks the triumph of human spirit over COVID-19.”
Guests of Honour – Veteran actor Zeenat Aman and Member of Parliament and actor Ravi Kishen – were felicitated at the closing ceremony. Producer, director and actor Biswajit Chatterjee was honoured with the ‘Indian Personality of the Year’ award at the closing ceremony of the 51st IFFI.
The 84-year-old veteran who has worked in Hindi and Bengali films thanked the government for the honour and recalled his “deep connection with Bangladesh,” the country focus at 51st IFFI.
He said, “When Bangladesh was being attacked, genius director Ritwik Gatak was with me in Mumbai and we used to get inspired by the speeches of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Then as per Ritwik da’s suggestion, we made the documentary ‘There Flows Padma, The Mother River’. I can never forget the love I got from Bangladesh. Bangladesh and India are one, we are brethren; we are not separate.”