Panaji, Nov 19 (IANS) The romanticism of cinema will engulf tourist paradise Goa as the annual International Film Festival of India (IFFI) rolls out the red carpet for its 49th edition here on Tuesday. The organisers have welcomed movie aficionados to witness a line-up of over 200 films from 68 countries, reflecting inclusivity and diversity.
According to IFFI 2018 Festival Director Chaitanya Prasad, the edition offers a perfect blend of creativity, cinematic diversity, innovation, diversified rich content, wide stakeholder participation, different shades of acting as well as a perfect blend of issues, themes and ideas.
"This year's IFFI is extremely special because it is a run up to the golden jubilee of IFFI next year," Prasad said in a video message posted on social media.
There will be many firsts at the jamboree, organised by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
"Firstly, both the opening and closing ceremonies are two world premieres ('The Aspern Papers' and 'Sealed Lips' respectively), we have special screenings of films on sports, taking forward the policy of Khelo India, which has been done very well, and we have tried to bring in popular movies of cinema together," he added.
IFFI will open with the world premiere of "The Aspern Papers", which tells a story of obsession, grandeur lost and dreams of Byronic adventures.
The film's actors, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Joely Richardson, Julia Robins, Morgane Polanski and Nicolas Hau, apart from director Julien Landais, are here for the gala.
Israel will be the focus country at the festival, with a package of ten films. Famous Israeli actor Alon Aboutboul will be a special guest, while filmmaker Dan Wolman, who will will be honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award at the fest, will also hold a masterclass on film direction.
A state focus section has been launched this time, and Jharkhand is the chosen one. Movies in the package include "Death in the Gunj", "Ranchi Diaries" and "Begum Jaan".
A retrospective of Ingmar Bergman, marking 100 years of the filmmaker's birth, will be a special attraction as seven of his career-best works will be showcased.
The International Competition section of IFFI this year has 15 films, out of which 3 are Indian. The competition section represents films produced and co-produced by 22 countries.
Also, this year's celebration will have the highest number of Oscar nominated films -- 16 selected entries.
A retrospective of films of the recipient of the most prestigious film award of the Country, Dadasaheb Phalke Award is showcased during IFFI. This year, actor Vinod Khanna received the award posthumously. IFFI will be showcasing some of his best films including "Achanak", "Lekin" and "Amar Akbar Anthony".
The 'Homages' section will pay tributes to Shashi Kapoor, Sridevi, M. Karunanidhi and Kalpana Lajmi from India, and to Terence Marsh, Milos Forman and Anne V Coates from the foreign world.
As for the Indian Panorama, the section will have 26 feature and 21 non-feature Indian chosen by the jury. Shaji N. Karun's "Olu" will be the opening feature film of the segment, while "Kharvas" directed by Aditya Suhas Jambhale will be the opening non-feature film of Indian Panorama 2018.
Masterclasses and In-conversation sections will feature celebrities like Prasoon Joshi, Sreekar Prasad, Anil Kapoor, Sumit Israni, Boney Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor, Jahnvi Kapoor, David Dhawan, Varun Dhawan, Rohit Dhawan, Jairaj, Kaushik Ganguly, Shaji N. Karun, Srijit Mukhrjee, Sridhar and Sriram Raghavan, Meghna Gulzar, Leena Yadav and Gauri Shinde.
Making inclusivity count, there will be a special package for visually impaired children with screenings which shall have audio description. "Sholay" and "Hichki" will be showcased under this section.
Sports fans can savour films like "Gold", "Mary Kom", "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag" and "Soorma".
(Radhika Bhirani is in Goa on an invitation by IFFI organisers. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)