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Several prominent film personalities, including actors Mohan Agashe, Mukta Barve, director and producer Subhash Ghai, sound designer Resul Pookutty and Jabbar Patel, director of PIFF were present. State minister for cultural affairs, Sanjay Deotale, state forest minister, Patangrao Kadam and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokes-person Prakash Javadekar were also at the festival.
Jeetendra won over the audience when he took to the dais and started speaking in Marathi. He said that, lately he was not so used to speaking Marathi. "Even if a monkey becomes old, he will not forget to jump. It's the same with my Marathi. It's been 50 years since I left the Marathi-speaking Girgaum area in Mumbai, nevertheless, I do speak Marathi, but not as well as I used to speak it earlier," he said.
He said that Puneites have given him infinite love in the past. "Pune mein har shaks aisa mila, jaisa bichada hua koi yaar mila (Puneites greet me in such a way as if two old time friends have met)," Jeetendra said adding that PIFF should continue to screen films even when cinema completes 200 years.
Deo, reminiscing about his days in Pune, said that he has an intimate relationship with the city. "This city has given me my wife. I pleaded her for four long years to marry me and it is this city where she accepted my proposal of marriage," the 87-year old said. His wife, noted actress, Seema, and sons, Ajinkya and Abhinay were also present at the felicitation.
Deo has spent 63 years in the Marathi and Hindi film industry and has portrayed varied roles, as a lead actor, a villain and father in films such as 'Mere Apne', 'Anand', 'Devmanus', 'Suvasini', 'Vardaksha', among others. Deo has to his credit 285 Hindi films, 190 Marathi films and 30 plays.
PIFF organisers also presented the S D Burman Sound of music award to Pandit Shivkumar Sharma and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. The duo, who composed film music as 'Shiv Hari' were felicitated by Pookutty and Barve. Sharma said that it was a happy moment for both of them.
"We were fortunate that legendary filmmaker Yash Chopra asked us to compose music for the film 'Silsila' Several people in the industry said that something was wrong with Chopra when he made this offer to us. But, Yashji had faith in us and we delivered. That's how we entered the film industry and that is why we are standing here today."
Clips from films of the four stalwarts were shown before each one was felicitated.
Seven Marathi films will vie for the state government's 'Sant Tukaram' trophy while 13 films will be competing in the world cinema category. Besides 80 contemporary films from more than 50 countries, a retrospective segment, which will feature films by renowned Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni, French director Claude Chabrol as well as popular films of Indian actor Smita Patil, will also be screened.
This year, PIFF will present milestone feature films in the history of Indian cinema to mark the centenary of Indian films. The screening begins from Friday at seven theatres across the city, including all multiplexes of City Pride, E-Square, National Film Archive of India and PVR - Ahmednagar road.
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