14th MIFF kicks off

Mumbai, Jan 28 (IANS) The 14th edition of MIFF began on Thursday at the Ravindra Natya Mandir here in presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, festival director Mukesh Sharma, filmmakers Mike Pandey, Shyam Benegal and event ambassador Jackie Shroff.

Minister of State of Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore presided over the inaugural function, which was followed by a grand dance recital by Sandeep Soparkar and his partner Jesse Randhawa. Benegal was the guest of honor on the occasion.

In his address, Sharma said that the MIFF has become a landmark event in the city over the years by having a special identity of its own. He praised the Indian documentary filmmakers for having not having imitated the international documentary movement and successfully leaving an imprint of their own.

Jackie confessed that documentaries have always been very close to his heart right from his childhood and lauded the people who are behind MIFF for having come forward to give an opportunity in the form of a platform to showcase their films and also see films made all over the world.

“I do not know why my dear find Mukesh Sharma asked me to be the brand ambassador of the festival but I am nevertheless happy. I want bigger stars than I am… like Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan and my own son Tiger to come forward the next year to spread awareness about MIFF by being its ambassador.”

The V. Shantaram Lifetime Achievement award was conferred by Fadnavis on eminent and pioneering documentary wildlife filmmaker Naresh Bedi, who was given a cash prize of Rs.5 lakh, a trophy and a shawl.

Talking about his growth as a filmmaker over the past 45 years, Bedi said that after struggling by working as a freelancer for Doordarshan in his beginning when he was paid a meagre Rs.3 per foot for a film that was used to getting a big break with BBC was indeed a big climb for him as a formative filmmaker.

Fadnavis quipped that the inaugural function of MIFF this year was very unique in many ways in the sensed that it was for the first time that he was coming on the dais for the fourth time consecutively in one single evening.

He added that he was happy that the festival was happening in the city which is not only the financial but also commercial and entertainment capital of the country.

The opening films which were shown after the formal function was over were animation film “The Present” directed by Jacob Fray, short fiction film “Second Wind” directed by Sergey Tsyss and “Cherub of the Mist” directed by Bedi.

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