New Delhi, Nov 14: Film Star Rekha was most likely to inaugurate this year's International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which the organisers said would be more colourful and a step further over the previous year's event. There were four five probables, including Naseeruddin Shah, Rajesh Khanna and Shyam Benegal who could lend grace to the opening ceremony of one of the most celebrated events of the film world, but Rekha was most likely to inaugurate the festival, sources said. The Festival will open on November 22 and the closing ceremony will take place on December 2. Veteran film star Kamal Hasan will be the chief guest at the closing function.
Director of the Film Festival S M Khan told UNI that decision on the opening film was yet to be taken, but it will be either 'War lords' by Peter Chan or 'My Magic' by Erick Hoo'. The closing film will be from Iran 'The Song of Sparrows' directed by Majid Majdi, he said. Mr Khan said that several celebrated figures of the film world both from home and abroad will lend colour and grace to the festival this year. These include French actress Christina Deveur and Nikki Karimi from Iran.
The IndiaN celebrities include DAleep Kumar, Dev anand, Anil Kapoor, Sunil Shetty, Randhir Kapoor and the three Khan brothers--Feroz Khan, Sanjay Khan and Akbar Khan.
This time the festival will have a new 'India Worldwide' section in which the focus will be on films made by NRIs or having NRI content, said Mr Khan.
Besides, there will be special section on Taj Mahal as a tribute to one of the world's most wonderful monuments of love. This will have three films--'Taj Mahal' directed by M Sadiq in the 1960s, a silent movie on the monument 'Sheeraz' made in 1927 and the latest one 'Taj Mahal-An Eternal Love Story' by Akbar Khan.
.. Mr Khan said the festival will also pay tribute to the Kannada cinema by screening important films made in the rich south India language to give a glimpse of the 75 years old history of the film making in the language. Besides, there will be focus on the cinema of Switzerland, Russia and Iran. Moreover, there will be retrospective of the films of Hollywood actor John Lendis.
This year, he said, a new system of registration had been introduced to enable the local people and tourists enjoy films shown in the festival. The registration will be open on a daily and first-come-first-serve basis. Such delegates can see three Indian films for Rs 100.
''The step has been taken to involve the local people in the celebration of the Indian cinema, and remove their alienation from the event,'' said the Director of the Film Festival.
He also said that keeping in view the success of the last year's system of online registration, a new software has been introduced to further improve the system.
The festival will also pay tribute to three stalwarts of the Indian film industry Dilip Kumar, B Saroja Devi and Lata Mangeshkar.
Besides, there will be a special segment on international classics from the pre-1950 era.
Last year's International Film Festival was acclaimed by important figures of the film world as a great success. Luminaries of the India cinema like Adoor Gopalakrishnan saw Goa IFFI as ''gradually acquiring a character''.
IFFI, 2008 would have 15 films in the competition section, of which two would be from India, said Mr Khan.
Last year, Taiwanese Director Lin Chih Ju had bagged the best film award with the Golden Peacock and a cash award of 10 lakhs for his film 'The Wall'.
The most promising director award went to Ms Pongpat Wachirabunjong for her debut Thai film 'Khaw Hai Rak Johg Jaroen' (Me Myself). She got the Silver Peacock and a cash award of Rs 5 lakhs.
The Special Jury Award was shared by Bangladeshi writer Golam Rabanny Biplab for his film 'Swopnodanay' (on the wings of dreams) and child artist Julia Urbini for her performance in the Mexican film 'Mas Que A Nada En El Mundo' (more than anything in the world).
Each winner was presented a Silver Peacock medal, a cash prize of Rs 2,50,000 and a certificate.