Panaji: There was a sense of emptiness among those attending the 42nd International Film Festival of India (IFFI) as the curtains came down Saturday evening. Most of Goa was buzzing with frenetic activity during the 10-day festival, featuring 6,680 delegates from India and around the world, and 165 films.
Besides the films, there were a spate of master classes, discussions, seminars, documentaries and short films, open forums and networking events at eight locations spread over two cities of Panjim and Margao.
The INOX and the Maquinez Complex were the hotbed of action. The serpentine queues with people waiting patiently to watch world class cinema was heartening and bore ample testimony to the insatiable thirst for good cinema among cine-goers in India.
The vast number of films, slotted in various categories gave the audience the power to choose films they desired to watch rather than have a few films thrust down their throat. The films were divided in the categories of Indian Panaroma - Fiction and Non Fiction, World Cinema, Retrospectives, Country Focus (US, Poland and Russia), Three Dimension and Soccer Packages.
The simultaneous screenings of several great films made people miss some of the films on their wishlist. One had to dash out mid-way from a show to catch a bit of another, a pet peeve of many film buffs at the 42nd IFFI.
The festival had classics from Tagore, such as "Milan", "Streer Patra", "Charulata" and "Kshudita Pashan".
Other tributes included films of Mani Kaul, Shammi Kapoor, Samir Chanda and M.F. Husain.
The festival had many firsts to its credit. For the first time, the inauguration ceremony was held 30 km away from the main action point.There was a first-ever open screen on a football ground for free display of soccer films. The festival was the first to feature the new sections like 3D, Animation (Sketches on Screen) and Festival Kaleidoscope films.
Most of the World Cinema films left an impact on the audience. Films like "Pina", "Artist", "Agha Yousef", "How big is your love", "My Australia", "Starbuck", "Porfirio" (the winner of the Golden Peacock Award) and "Majid" were a cut above the rest.
The Indian Panorama had some new age films. With great cinematic techniques they dealt with the subject deftly, but failed to move you at an emotional level.
The unanimous feeling at the festival was that the selection of the movies was great.
Shankar Mohan, director of the festival, said: "Since the idea of the festival is to promote film makers and expose the audience to world class cinema, we are striving to reach to the level that we make IFFI recognized worldwide."
The festival was abuzz with celebrity presence. While Shah Rukh Khan inaugurated the festival, Madhuri Dixit opened the Indian Panorama section. Freida Pinto and Micheal Winterbottom were there to introduce their film `Trishna.` The first two days saw Jackie Shroff making his presence felt. Others included Heather Graham, Rituparna Sengupta, Kalki Koechlin, Resool Pookkutty.
Among the galaxy of the stars were famous film makers like Phillip Noyce, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Anurag Kashyap, Farah Khan, Santosh Sivan.
Michelle Yeoh, Luc Besson along with Madhur Bhandarkar, Irfan Khan, Sohail Khan, David Dhawan were the highlights of the closing day of the festival, while southern heartthrob Surya was the chief guest.