India’s G-20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant on Wednesday said Indian films reflect the soft power of the country as well as its unity and diversity.
He was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the G20 Film Festival organised by the India International Centre (IIC) in collaboration with the G20 Secretariat, Ministry of External Affairs.
Satyajit Ray’s 1955 black-and-white classic film Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road) opened the festival, which will run till September 3.
Kant, who was the chief guest at the event, said films reflect the “unity and diversity” of India.
“I have been a great believer in Indian films. Our G20 presidency is ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’: One Earth, One Family, One Future… Indian films truly reflect the soft power of India. More than anything else, they reflect the unity and diversity of India. And, there’s no better way to start a film festival than to show Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali,” he said.
Tourism and culture are two major components of G20, Kant added.
“They have helped us promote the soft power of India. Unlike other countries, India has done its G20 presidency very differently. It has taken G20 out to every state of India across 60 cities,” Kant said.
“It has used the opportunity to improve infrastructure in many cities. The soft power has helped to market all the states vigorously,” he said.
The film gala also helped bring G20 to the people and not let it become “just a bureaucratic or government exercise”, Kant said.
IIC president Shyam Saran said such festivals help people appreciate the art of cinema from various countries. “Films play an important role in terms of bridging a divide amongst countries. You have seen the role that has been played by Bollywood itself,” he said.
“That is something whose popularity stretches right across the world. They have brought people together. Perhaps we underestimate the role that films can play in promoting international understanding and a sense of togetherness,” Saran added.
The G20 Film Festival will present 16 seminal award-winning international feature films which reflect the issues and concerns of each country, engaging with questions of identity, of memories and remembrance, issues of gender, and social polity.
Some of these titles are We are Still Here (Australia), Ana. Untitled (Brazil), Aristocrats (Japan), Mezquite’s Heart (Mexico), Decision to Leave (South Korea), and My Night (France).
Entry to all the screenings is open to all and is free of charge. The screenings will be held at the CD Deshmukh Auditorium at the IIC.