New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) The inauguration of the first-ever Indian Ocean rim film festival received a lukewarm response from the media and audience alike.
Ministry of external affairs Joint Secretary Malay Mishra said about 2,000 invites were sent out. But the turnout was not so impressive.
'We tried our best. We had a media briefing and advertised in the papers. We circulated nearly 2,000 invitations. There are less people Friday because there were other events in the evening,' Mishra told IANS.
However, Mishra was optimistic that more people would come to the fest that ends March 1.
Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma, inaugurating the festival Friday evening, said such initiatives offer understanding of the cultural perspective of member countries through the medium of cinema.
'The Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) is an important association for cooperation in various fields among the member countries. Initiatives like the film festival offer understanding of the cultural perspective of member countries through the medium of cinema,' said Sharma.
'We should also have a mechanism to have a commercial release of such films. I know what I am saying is not easy,' he added.
Australian movie, 'Yolngu Boy', about three Yolngu (aboriginal) teenagers, kick started the fest Friday. From India, 'Chak De! India' starring Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan will be screened.
Asha Swaroop, secretary information and broadcasting ministry, said: 'I am happy that we are screening 'Chak De! India'. It was one of the most successful films of last year. In fact, Indian cricket team has adopted 'Chak De! India' as their anthem.'
Commenting upon Shah Rukh Khan starrer 'Chak De! India', Sharma said: 'I wish I could have seen the film. All my friends and family members have seen the film.'
Apart from India and Australia, films from Bangladesh, Iran, Kenya, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Thailand, South Africa and Tanzania will be showcased.
Neelam Kapur, additional director general of the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF), Syed Nabizadeh, Islamic Republic of Iran ambassador and the chairman of IOR-ARC, and Stephen Michael, director of the film 'Yolngu Boy', were present.
The festival, jointly organised by DFF, Ministry of I&B and the Ministry of External Affairs, will be on till March 1 at the Siri Fort Auditorium.