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Akshay Kumar inaugurates 43rd IFFI in Goa  
 Story Dated: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 8:20 hrs IST 
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Information & Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari and Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar look on as actor Akshay Kumar lights the lamp to inaugurate the 43rd International Film Festival (IFFI-2012), in Panaji, Goa. PTI
Panaji:  The 43rd International Film Festival of India took off to a grand start today with Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar inaugurating the cinematic extravaganza that celebrates the 100 years of Indian cinema over the next 10 days.

Recalling his early connection to cinema and how his family skipped meals to buy movie tickets, the 45-year-old actor said it was incredible that the country was celebrating the 100-year-old cinematic legacy at IFFI.

"This international film festival is an occasion to remember what cinema is all about. Let me start by telling what cinema means to me. Cinema means to me emotion, excitement, suspense but most important what it means to me is family time.

"When I was a kid every weekend me, my sister, my mom and my day, we would go without lunch every single Saturday of every month so that at night my family could afford four tickets and four samosas and four mango stick ice creams," Akshay said.

The 45-year-old actor said it is because of his father that his choice of movies largely depend on what the masses want.

"Religiously to this date I treat my family on Saturdays but fortunately I don't have to skip lunch... It is our biggest connection in life. So I owe my entire life's happiness to Indian cinema," Akshay said.

The actor asked the nearly 2,000 strong gathering to stand silently for a minute to remember his father-in-law Rajesh Khanna, Yash Chopra, Dev Anand, A K Hangal, Ashok Mehta and Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray.

Polish director Krzysztof Zanussi, 73, received a standing ovation from the audience as he was conferred with the Lifetime Achievement award by Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari.

Tewari, in his address, said that the Government of India was taking a number of steps to nurture the Indian film Industry.

"Various schemes conceived by the Government aim at promoting Indian films in the world arena, encouraging production of quality films and encouraging the documentary movement in the country. With a view to preserve our film heritage, the government is embarking on an ambitious National Film Heritage Mission during the 12th Five year plan," he said.

The centenary celebrations this year include 27 feature films and 36 documentaries.

The inauguration function recalled different eras of cinema through a live dance and song performance choreographed by Saroj Khan. Singer Kailash Kher also performed at the event.

Present at the function where actors Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Paoli Dam, Anurag Basu and Chunkey Pandey.

Irrfan and Tabu where felicitated on stage as their movie "Life of Pi" by acclaimed director Ang Lee is opening the 11-day festival.

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said that the journey to make Goa a preferred film destination had started eight years ago and now the focus was to take the festival to "real international level."  
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