Panaji, Nov 21 (Calcutta Tube/IBNS) Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni will not be present for the International Film Festival of India’s (IFFI) inauguration scheduled on November 22.
Chief minister Digambar Kamat said that the minister is not well and she will not be present for the inaugural. “She has deputed Union Railway minister Mamata Benerjee for the function,” he said addressing a press conference today.
The minister however dodged media questions as to why megastar Amitabh Bachchan was not invited for the festival. “It is upto the Directorate of Film Festivals (to call Bachchan) to decide on guests for the event. Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) does not intervene…” he replied.
The buzz is that Bachchan’s political links is perhaps the main reason why IFFI organizers are maintaining a distance from inviting him for this international event. In the past, as well, there have been controversies over inviting him as a guest for IFFI.
ESG officials seem very upset over the organiser’s action of not inviting the megastar. The 10-day festival is starting from November 22 to December 2. Renowned filmmaker Yash Chopra will be chief guest for the inaugural.
Kamat said that nearly 27 films will be screened at Margao, 35 kms away from the capital Panaji. “Apart from delegates, people can buy tickets on the spot… IFFI in the state is paying rich dividends and state has started producing movies of its own,” he said.
(Reporting by John Edwards)