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The Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) will invite Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan to attend the upcoming edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here, which is scheduled in November. The move by ESG, established by the Government of Goa in 2004, as the nodal agency in the organisation of the IFFI, is expected to break the ice between the actor and the organisers.
The relationship between Bachchan, 71, and IFFI, since it shifted to Goa, has generated all kinds of controversies in the past. There have been instances when the invitation to Big B was withdrawn at the last moment purportedly because of the strained relations between the Nehru-Gandhi family and the Bachchans. The erstwhile Congress-led UPA government in Goa did not invite Bachchan for the event, fuelling speculation that non-invitation was political and purposeful, however the Congress had always denied the charge.
“We have already begun a process to invite Amitabh Bachchan for the festival. We all are his fans. I will be personally happy if he comes to Goa to attend the festival,” ESG Vice-Chairman, Damodar Naik told PTI.
He said that the presence of Bachchan would lend more importance to the event, which has been held in Goa since 2004. Bachchan had attended the IFFI in year 2004 as a brand ambassador of campaign for HIV/AIDS. He was present for the screening of an acclaimed South African film on the subject during the 35th IFFI, when the festival travelled to Goa for the first time from Delhi.
The IFFI is scheduled from November 20-30, 2014. Naik said that the preparations for the festivals have already begun. He said that it was formally announced during a recent meeting between Union information and broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar and state chief minister Manohar Parrikar that Goa would be the permanent venue for the IFFI.
“The opening and closing ceremonies for the festival would be held at Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee stadium, Bambolim, a complex which was built to host recently-concluded Portuguese Commonwealth games. The stadium can host 9,000 people,” Naik said.
With the Central government committing to retain the festival in Goa, the state government will now work towards building the required infrastructure like convention hall and big theatres, he said.
“These facilities can now come up because there is a commitment,” Naik added.