Amitabh Bachchan at the closing ceremony of the 48th International Film Festival of India, in Panaji, Goa, Nov. 28. (Press Trust of India)
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan was honored with the Indian Film Personality of the Year award, Nov. 28, at the 48th edition of IFFI and he chose the occasion to highlight the power of cinema saying it brings people together irrespective of their caste, color, creed or religion.
The 75-year-old actor said cinema is the only medium that offers “poetic justice” in mere three hours and he is proud to be a part of the film fraternity.
“I have always felt that my request and regard for the Indian film industry have rested in the presence the film industry has had in our world. When we sit inside a dark hall we never ask the creed, the color (or) the religion of the person sitting next to us.
“We see the same film, we laugh on the same joke, we cry on the same emotion, we sing the same songs. In this fast world of today, where can you find such a wonderful and worthy example of unity and integration as we do in the world of cinema,” he said in his acceptance speech.
Recalling a conversation he had with his father, eminent poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan, the actor said, “During the last years, my father used to sit in front of the television and see a Hindi film every evening, often it used to be my own film.
“One day, I asked him what attracts him towards Hindi cinema and he said ‘I get to see poetic justice in three hours.’ This is the power of cinema. I am a very proud Indian and also a very proud and small member of this exquisite fraternity.”
Bachchan was presented with the award by Akshay Kumar and Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Smriti Irani.
The actor, in his speech, also said that Goa is very close to his heart and thanked IFFI for the recognition.
“Goa is very close to my heart. My first film ‘Saat Hindustani’ was shot in Goa and therefore I have immense amount of memories and love for people of Goa. The very first fan I had was also from Goa, her name is Zareen Fernandez.
“I just want to thank IFFI and Smriti ji for this recognition. I have always felt that accolade that come to me are something I do not deserve. I still feel the same but I do respect this award. Thank you so much for having me here tonight and honoring me.”
Actor Sidharth Malhotra paid tributes to Bachchan with a dance performance on his popular songs such as “Khaike Paan Banaras Wala,” “Saara Zamaana” and “Jumma Chumma De De.”
Akshay, who welcomed the star on stage called him the “father of Indian cinema.”
The actor recalled meeting Bachchan in Kashmir, as a teenager, and thanked him for inspiring hundreds of people to choose acting.
In her speech, Irani said, “You all, who have seen and studied Amitabh Bachchan’s career, must be knowing that there was an incident when Amit ji went to audition for All India Radio and he was rejected and now it is (‘vidhi ka vidhan’) and our honor that the same ministry (Information and Broadcasting) is presenting you with this award. This is our honor and thank you so much.”