SAIFTA will bring India, South Africa closer: Boman Irani

Last Updated: Aug 14, 2013, 15:13 PM IST

New Delhi: Actor Boman Irani will judge the "best works of cinema and TV" for the first time for the first edition of South Africa India Film and Television Awards (SAIFTA) to be held in Durban on Sep 6. He says judging comes with added responsibility, but at the same time he feels that the event will bring the two countries closer.

"The event will definitely strengthen the bond between the two countries. There will be exchange of opinions, story ideas, technicians, technology and artists. The possibilities are endless," Boman told IANS in a telephonic conversation.

"The association will help build a bridge between the two countries that are full of talented people. Also, it`s about give and take. South Africa is at one corner of the world. They would love to accept our work and promote their work too," the 53-year-old added.

For the maiden edition of SAIFTA, veteran actress Waheeda Rehman, filmmakers Mukesh Bhatt, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Farah Khan will join Boman in the judge`s panel.

SAIFTA, an annual event, aims at rewarding excellent performers of the Indian and South African entertainment industry. The project is aimed at strengthening the bond between India and South Africa by enhancing the exchange of cultural elements in entertainment, talent and technical expertise between the two countries.

Celebrity Locker, a Mumbai-based events company agency has joined hands with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism of Durban for the event, which will also see prominent South African dignitaries.

Boman has been a part of the film industry for over a decade and has worked in hits like "Munnabhai" series, "3 Idiots", "Cocktail" and "Student of the Year".

He has hosted award shows, but this is his first stint as a judge and he said: "Honestly, judging is not really exciting as it comes with added responsibility. We would be judging one`s career, hard work of months and years. It`s about judging one`s artistic endeavours. You can`t just make your decision, you have to be really careful."

"Also, sometimes what happens is when you judge, your opinions don`t match with the others. So, there`s a lot of pressure. I would say it`s a nice feeling, but it`s definitely not a fun thing to do," he added.

As a judge, Boman`s yardstick to judge will be to give importance to films carrying message and highlighting social responsibilities.

"We are not experts, we are the audience members only, but we do have the experience to differentiate between the films. We can see and differentiate how a film is made, if it will create an impact and what message does it provides. I would judge it like a common viewer," said Boman.

"Though cinema is all about entertainment, but there are films that provide messages and highlight our social responsibilities. I feel those films should get more importance. I would judge films on the basis of content and expression."

Boman says he is familiar with South Africa and visited Durban 14 years ago as a theatre actor.

"I had gone there to do a play called `Mahatma Vs Gandhi`. People liked it so much that we staged it for a month. It was hugely popular because of the connection with Mahatma Gandhi. There was great resonance with local communities. We had hired many local actors also," said Boman.

Last seen in `Jolly L.L.B`, the actor`s future projects include Telugu film `Attharintiki Daaredhi`.