The 54th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) kicked off with a spectacular opening ceremony at the Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium in Panaji, Goa, on Monday evening.
Anurag Singh Thakur, the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting (I&B), Youth Affairs and Sports, inaugurated the nine-day festival alongside Goa Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant, Minister of State (MoS) for I&B Dr. L. Murugan, MoS for Tourism Shripad Naik, actor and MP Sunny Deol, and other esteemed dignitaries.
The event was graced by numerous notable Indian and international film personalities. Thakur expressed that in a world increasingly marked by division, cinema can serve as a catalyst for peace, progress, and prosperity. He highlighted that the theme of IFFI, similar to India’s Presidency of the G-20 Summit earlier in the year, is rooted in the concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (The World Is One Family).
Thakur announced that the 54th IFFI would be a melting pot of diverse voices, vibrant cultures, and cinematic excellence, revealing that the festival received an unprecedented 2,926 entries from 105 countries, a significant increase from the previous edition.
During his inaugural address, Thakur unveiled an enhanced incentive for foreign film productions in India, offering a reimbursement of up to 40% of expenses, with a raised limit of ₹30 crore. This marked a considerable increase from the previous cap of ₹2.5 crore. Thakur also announced an additional 5% bonus for Significant Indian Content (SIC).
The gala opening, hosted by Bollywood actors Karishma Tanna and Aparshakti Khurana, witnessed a packed audience at the 4,000-seater venue. Madhuri Dixit Nene received the first-ever ‘Special Recognition for Contribution to Bharatiya Cinema’ award, and she also delivered captivating performances of her all-time hits.
The entertainment quotient was further elevated by energetic performances from Nushrratt Bharuccha, Shahid Kapoor, Shriya Saran, and singers Sukhwinder Singh and Shreya Ghoshal. Notable figures such as Vijay Sethupathi, Karan Johar, Sara Ali Khan, Pankaj Tripathi, and others were felicitated at the ceremony.
Vijay Sethupathi introduced his upcoming film, “Gandhi Talks,” a dialogue-less drama premiering at IFFI. The festival, now in its seventh decade, showcases over 270 films from 105 countries and runs across four venues from November 20 to 28.
The closing ceremony on November 28 will honor legendary Hollywood actor-producer Michael Douglas with the IFFI Lifetime Achievement Award. Douglas will also conduct a masterclass on the same day. The festival features 15 films competing for the Golden Peacock Award, with Shekhar Kapur leading the International Jury.
In its latest edition, IFFI introduced the Best Web Series (OTT) award to acknowledge India’s thriving streaming sector. Panchayat Season 2, Human, Nirmal Pathak Ki Ghar Wapsi, and Rocket Boys Season 2 are the contenders in this category, with filmmaker Rajkumari Hirani heading the jury.
Earlier in the day, Thakur inaugurated the 17th edition of the NFDC Film Bazaar, the film market component of IFFI.