Only politicians matter – IFFI 2014

Last week I was in Goa and how could I not attend the IFFI inauguration? Not naturally inclined to these kinds of events, I accompanied my niece who had taken the trouble to get  VIP passes for the show.

We were supposed to be in our seats by 4.30 pm for a 5 pm show. I reached the venue a little ahead of time. While waiting for the others, I watched the chaos at the entrance.  The SP Mukherji indoor stadium is a new facility on the plateau that lies between Mandovi and Zuari rivers, between the University and Bambolim. The plateau is on the whole rather bald, but around this new site there is not a single tree – probably sacrificed to the construction. So I stood in the warm evening sun and watched the Traffic police trying to manage the crowds. And, in the face of so many VIP cars, they were having quite a time.

We managed to get into the venue – to face the further chaos!! The passes issued were probably far in excess of the 10,000 seating capacity, people were pushing and jostling and standing in the aisles. It was a scramble to get seats – there were no ushers or officials to manage this crowd.

The program did start on time – and thanks to the large screens, the proceedings on stage, could be seen by everyone. Anupam Kher and Raveena Tandon were the emcees – and did a passable job.  They welcomed  everyone including the Chinese and other delegations and stars. And once the proceedings started, I almost thought I was at one of the innumerable inaugurations of  medical conferences, that I have attended. The Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting gave the welcome address to “Respected Governor of Goa, Shrimati Mridula Sinhaji, Honourable Minister of Finance and Information and Broadcasting Shri Arun Jaitleyji, Honourable Minister of Defence Shri Manohar Parrikarji, Honourable Chief Minister of Goa Shri Laxmikant Parsekarji, Honourable Minister of State for Informaion and BroadastingShri Raghvendra Rajyavardhan Rathoreji,  Honourable  Chief Guest Shri Amitabh Bacchanji, Honourable Guest of Honor Shri Rajnikantji, etcc……” which was followed by an address by the Honourable Minister of Finance and Information and Broadcasting Shri Arun Jaitleyji who addressed “Respected Governor of Goa, Shrimati Mridula Sinhaji,  Honourable Minister of Defence Shri Manohar Parrikarji, Honourable Chief Minister of Goa Shri Laxmikant Parsekarji, Honourable Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Shri Rajyavardhan Rathoreji, Honourable  Chief Guest Shri Amitabh Bacchanji, Honourable Guest of Honor Shri Rajnikantji, etc…..” followed an address by the Honorable Minister for Defence  (he got the biggest applause of all – a real star in Goa) who addressed “Respected Governor of Goa, Shrimati Mridula Sinhaji, Honourable Minister of Finance and Information and Broadcasting Shri Arun Jaitleyji, Chief Minister of Goa Shri Laxmikant Parsekar (note the familiarity), Minister of State for Informaion and Broadasting  Rajyavardhan Rathore, Honourable  Chief Guest Shri Amitabh Bacchan (he forgot to mention Rajnikant, and did so as an after thought) and then the address by the Honorable Chief Minister of Goa Shri Laxmikant Parsekarji who gave a rousing election speech to “Respected Governor of Goa, Shrimati Mridula Sinhaji, Honourable Minister of Finance and Information and Broadcasting Shri Arun Jaitleyji, Honourable Minister of Defence Shri Manohar Parrikarji, Honourable Minister of State for Informaion and Broadasting Shri Raghvendra Rajyavardhan Rathoreji Honourable  Chief Guest Shri Amitabh Bacchanji, Honourable Guest of Honor Shri Rajnikantji, etc…..’ None of these people even mentioned the foreign guests and stars.

This was followed by the lighting of the lamp and then a 25′ dance performance – the theme being “Celebrating dance in Indian cinema’.  There was a live dance troupe and the large screens running clips of the classical dances from films of Vijayanthimala, Waheeda Rehman, Hema Malini, Saroja Devi etc… most were poor choices and did not make any impact. There was a formal introduction of the International jury and Rajnikant was honored with the I&B  Ministry Centenary award, to which he gave a 4 sentence thank you speech.

Then Amitabh Bacchan gave his address which has been reproduced in part in today’s HT. And there was pin drop silence – not just that deep baritone that most of us are familiar with, but his diction, voice modulation, delivery, body language and last but not the least, the content – it was spot on!!  Finally it felt like a film related event….. and the audience responded warmly (still short of rock star Parrikar)

And then came the vote of thanks by another bureaucrat – by which time we had had enough and left – to negotiate further chaos at the parking lot!!

We were too far back to see the front rows, but I think the screens showed Gulzar, Manoj Bajpai – am not sure if there were any other Indian stars. Why would they come? This event, like all such events, becomes a political event – professionals are only second stringers!

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