The Shanghai Corporation Organisation (SCO) Film Festival opened in Mumbai. The inaugural lamp of the five-day festival was lit by Akshay Kumar, Tiger Shroff, Hema Malini, Poonam Dhillon along with Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur, who said the lines have blurred between regional and international cinema as there are no boundaries for good content.
“Somebody asked me about regional or how come it is an international thing here, nothing is regional today if the content has the power, it will go places, from regional to national to international. Keep making good content, there are no boundaries for good content. This (‘Appatha’) is going to make great news at the box office and will be seen across the world,” he told reporters before the screening of the Tamil film.
The minister said 2023 is an important year for the nation for two reasons: India is hosting the G20 Summit and has the SCO Presidency. Adding that the festival's aim is to build cinematic partnerships, have exchange programmes, nurture young filmmaking talent and act as a bridge between the cultures of this unique region.
The film festival is being organized by the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) in association with the SCO Council of Heads of States.
When Thakur asked Kumar if he was ready to act in international films, the 55-year-old actor said, “I believe in being aatmanirbhar (self-reliant) and will do Hindustani films."
Shroff, on the other hand, said he is open to acting in international movies and believes that cinema has no language. “Films transcends boundaries, it is a visual medium and creativity has no language. I am very happy to be here and be part of this event and celebrate Indian cinema and its growth, and of course world cinema and all the countries that have participated and showed their talent,” said the 'Heropanti' actor.
According to Hema Malini, film festivals play a huge role in the rising popularity of an actor outside of India. “Through the festival a lot can happen. Like, (for) SCO film festival, there is participation from Russia, China, Uzbekistan and other (countries), it is a good thing and the result will be good. Long ago, I acted in an Indo-Russian collaboration film, ‘Alibaba Aur 40 Chor’ and because of that many people know me (in that country),” the veteran star said.
The actor-politician hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he has been doing wonderful work globally for the nation. “Globally we are leading G20, Modi ji is doing such wonderful work, and with this, the film industrywill get a boost as well,” she added.
Actors such as Kirti Kulhari, Esha Gupta, Hrishita Bhatt, and Jackky Bhagnani, Poonam Dhillon, Eli Avram, filmmaker Sajid Nadiadwala, too marked their presence at the festival.
Anurag Thakur on 'Boycott Bollywood' trend
Anurag Thakur largely spoke about the boycott trend. He said, "I will say two things on this, the Indian government has made central board of film certification and all films has to get an approval from that. After getting approval from CBFC then only a film releases in theatres. If any one has any objection they mail us and we discuss that with CBFC."
He added, "As far as OTT is concerned, to avoid restrictions on creativity we opted for the self-certification mode. If anyone has any complaints then there are 3 steps I.e Producer level, Association level and Intro departmental committee level. 55% of the issues get resolved at the first two levels. So I believe in a country like India where we want to grow our soft power, these types of discussion does impact us and the environment. Sometimes people create problems without even knowing about the subject which should not be done."