41st extravaganza of World Cinema opens in Goa

PANAJI: Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee today assured the film industry that she would pursue, with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the various demands relating to tax-burden on the film industry.

Speaking after inaugurating the 41st International Film Festival of India (IFFI) Banerjee said Indian films could today stand on an equal footing against films from any other part of the world.

She said Goa has provided a bridge between Indian and international cinema.

Guest of honour and eminent film maker Yash Chopra said it was unfortunate that the government tended to treat the film industry as mere entertainment and not as the major foreign exchange earner and a contributor to the national exchequer. The government, therefore, continues to burden the industry with more and more taxes.

Minister of State for I&B CM Jatua said cinema promoted co-operation and understanding, while Goa CM Digambar Kamat said Goa had emerged as a major film destination in the past few years. He referred to the involvement of film societies and said a special jury has been formed to award young film journalists.

In a brief address, film actor Ajay Devgn described the festival as a ‘Mahakumbh’ of cinema. 

SM Khan, director in the directorate of film festival, said the 41st IFFI had opened up competition across all continents and had attracted films from 61 countries. The total award money for the five awards had been enhanced to $200,000.

After the lightning of the lamp assisted by Riya Sen, several film personalities were felicitated. They included Divya Dutta, Manoj Bajpai, Rajkumar Hirani and Malayalam actor Jayaram.

After the cultural programme of classical dance and music, the opening film West is West was screened.

The programme was anchored by actors Aftab Shivdasani and Gracy Singh.

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