Controversy over IFFI's stay in Goa still alive

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Panaji, Nov 29: The controversy over Goa as a permanent venue for the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) is still alive despite the Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi announcing here that the Centre would help the tiny coastal State develop further for such festivals.

The rift between the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF), which is under the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and the State-backed Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG), is evident to those who have been attending the festival regularly.

Whenever anything goes wrong or there is any case of mismangement, the two sides waste no time in blaming each other for it.

Indications that the two bodies were pulling in different directions have been coming from both the sides and some people associated with the two were not taking much care as to hide it.

According to sources, the DFF was firm in its belief that Delhi was still the most suitable place for holding such events.

''In fact, the comfort level provided to the film celebrities was much higher in Delhi and they had become quite at ease in dealing with the DFF, which has a long experience of holding such festivals had experienced people from the field of cinema,'' an official told to the sources. ''Things are a bit in control beacuse the Congress is in power at the Centre and the State. The moment another party, which most possibly would be the BJP, replaces the Congress at either of the place there will be an end to it all,'' the official added.

IFFI was shifted to Goa during the BJP's rule at the Centre when Ms Sushma Swaraj was the Information and Broadcasting Minister.

Defending the ESG, one of its senior official said,'' the DFF is a very old and experineced body but it is unfair if it compares itself with us as we are just four-years-old. With time, the ESG would certainly develop in to a professional body.'' Asked why the ESG had this time brought out its own festival bulletin and its non-availability at the DFF controlled places, the official parried the question, saying, ''No No, but you can find it at all the help desks put up by us in the festival premises.'' There was a feeling among the local delegates and the media that the DFF was trying to sabotage the festival. They argue that the real estate developers, who were the main financers of the film industry, and also those in the tourist industry, had a real stake in retaining IFFI in Goa.

''There is a construction boom in the State and no section was going to lose so much as compared to this sector if the festival is taken away from the State. This sector will leave no stone unturned to exert its influence in preventing IFFI's return to Delhi. In fact deliberate attempts were being made to aggravate problems,'' said a local journalist.

However, those who are lobbying to shift IFFI's venue to Delhi feel that DFF was not doing any such thing but problems were resulting from inexperienced nature of the people who were at the helm of affairs of the ESG.

''Such an important festival of international importance cannot be left to people who are raw in this field,'' said one them.

The lobby feels that Goa might be given its own festival, but IFFI was sooner or later bound to shift to Delhi.

In fact Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamath two days ago said the State will have its own festival and it would be developed as the State of festivals.

A large section of the South Indian film industry was against holding IFFI in Goa. In fact, during the inaugural ceremony here on November 23, they shouted slogans demanding that the festival be shifted to Delhi.


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