Film historian Sanjit Narwekar honoured at the launch of 17th MIFF

Mumbai, May 29 (IANS) The Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, flagged off the 17th edition of the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF), with Bangladesh as the ‘Country of Focus’ at the Nehru Centre in Worli, Mumbai.

To celebrate 50 years of independence of Bangladesh, the MIFF ‘Country of Focus’, a package of 11 documentary films from the neighbouring country, including the critically acclaimed ‘Hasina: A Daughter’s Tale’ will be presented at the seven-day festival being organised by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The highlight of the opening ceremony was the documentary filmmaker, film historian and biographer Sanjit Narwekar being conferred the coveted V Shantaram Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the understanding of films.

Narwekar has written and edited more than 20 books on cinema, including ‘Marathi Cinema in Retrospect’, which won him the Swarna Kamal at the National Film Awards in 1996. The V. Shantaram Lifetime Achievement Award comes with a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh, a golden conch and a citation.

In a video message screened at the inauguration, the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, and Youth Affairs and Sport, Anurag Thakur, said: “Documentary cinema creates the most significant impact. It not only educates, inspires and motivates a change in the society, but also acts as a tool that transcends cultures and boundaries.”

The minister also mentioned that the MIFF provides a platform where documentary filmmakers from all over the world get to exchange ideas and explore the possibilities of co-productions and marketing of documentary, short and animation films.

The Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting, Dr L. Murugan, lauded Shaunak Sen’s film ‘All That Breathes’ for winning the best documentary award at the recently concluded 75th Cannes Film Festival.

He also reminded the audience that the Government of India had announced incentives for international filmmakers and co-productions, especially of feature films, animation films, documentary films and web series.

The film personalities present for the inaguration included filmmakers Shaji Karun, Kiran Shantaram and Rahul Rawail, and actor Dalip Tahil.