Inaugurating the 51st International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here on Saturday, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar, announced a new ‘Indian Personality of the Year’ award, which he announced was being conferred upon veteran actor, director and singer Biswajit Chatterjee.
During his address, Javadekar also made a strong pitch for the film industry as well as other private companies to start participating in the annual festival from its next edition.
Javadekar said Chatterjee will be presented the award in March, along with winners of the National Film Awards.Chatterjee had contested the 2014 general elections from a Delhi seat on a Trinamool Congress ticket but had joined the BJP in February 2019. IFFI also chose Bangladesh as the country in focus for this year. During his address, Javadekar said that to mark the 100th birth anniversary of Bangladesh’s first president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, India and Bangladesh will be co-producing a film titled ‘Bangabandhu’.The ‘Lifetime Achievement’ this year was given to Italian cinematographer Vittorio Storaro.Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s festival — being held at the Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium — is a combination of virtual and physical screenings of films. It usually takes place in November every year but was delayed due to the pandemic. The festival this year received 600 international entries and 190 Indian entries.
Speaking at the event, Javadekar also said, “Every year, IFFI is organised by the Central government and Goa government. Why?,” he said, adding that “there should be participation from the film industry and other industries.”
“Just because it’s the government’s responsibility to ensure a thriving atmosphere and promotion of arts and culture, doesn’t mean the government should do everything,” he added.