100-yr-old Zohra Sehgal will be state guest at IFFI

PANAJI: Zohra Sehgal, the senior stage and film actress, who started her career as a dancer with legendary dancer and choreographer Uday Shankar in 1935, will be the state guest at the forthcoming International Film Festival of India, which opens in the city on November 20.

The vice president of the Entertainment Society of Goa, Mr Vishnu Wagh told the media on Friday that the 100-year-old Sehgal had lived through major part of the last century, and it was apt to invite her as the state guest, when India is on the verge of celebrating 100 years of its cinema. "We will be honoured to have her as the state guest for IFFI 2012," he noted

Sehgal had made her film debut in 1946, with two films released that year namely K A Abbas directed ‘Dharti ke Lal’ and Chetan Anand’s ‘Neecha Nagar’. She continued to act even at an advanced age in films like ‘Dil Se...’ (1998), ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’ (1999), ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’ (2001), ‘Veer-Zaara’ (2004), ‘Cheeni Kum’ (2007) and ‘Saawariya’ (2007).

Speaking further, the vice chairman of the ESG said that the opening and closing ceremonies of the IFFI 2012 will now be held at the Panaji football stadium instead of Darya Sangam in the precincts of Kala Academy. "We have taken a decision to shift the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies so as to allow more people to attend these events," Mr Wagh added, pointing out that the football stadium venue will accommodate more people. He also said that a special tunnel will connect the football stadium venue to the Dinanath Mangueshkar Kala Mandir at Kala Academy, so that the dignitaries attending the opening and closing ceremonies can use this tunnel to proceed for the screening of opening and closing films at the IFFI 2012.

Mr Wagh also said that since the directorate of film festivals has not handed over the organisation of Indian Premiere section at the IFFI 2012 to the ESG, this year, the ESG is trying to create a special section, which will allow the Goan filmmakers to screen their new films for the IFFI delegates and dignitaries. "We are in the process of getting the newly renovated Menezes Braganza hall inaugurated during IFFI 2012, and open this special section in the hall," he informed, adding that the Menezes Braganza hall will be the venue for the special section showcasing latest films of Goan filmmakers.

ESG vice chairman also said that five food stalls are being proposed to be set up at the venue of IFFI 2012. Replying to a question, Mr Wagh said that he has now decided to put a leash on the spending by the ESG officials, especially on their telephone bills. "I am aware of the exorbitant money being spent on the telephone bills, and have therefore, directed use of loop mobile service under related package from the mobile service provider by all the ESG staff," he maintained.