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IFFI 2019: Usha Jadhav, Hellaro, Lijo Jose Pellissery win again as golden jubilee edition closes


Pellissery was adjudged Best Director for the second year in a row while Jadhav won the Silver Peacock for Best Actress for her role in Mai Ghat.

Our Correspondent

The 50th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) came to a close in Goa today with Lijo Jose Pellisserry winning the Best Director award for the second year in a row. The filmmaker from Kerala won the award for Jallikkattu (2019).

The jury also presented a special mention award to Abhishek Shah for his Gujarati feature film, Hellaro, which had also won the National award for Best Film earlier this year.

Actress Usha Jadhav won the Silver Peacock for Best Actor (Female) for her performance in Mai Ghat (2020), while director Wagner Moura represented his lead actor Seu Jorge, who won the Best Actor (Male) award for the film, Marighella (2019, Brazil).

The event took place at the Shyama Prasad Mookerjee stadium in Bambolim and was hosted by Hindi film actor Kunal Kapoor and Marathi film actress Sonali Kulkarni. The festival, which was inaugurated on 20 November, concluded after seven days of screening over 200 films.

Director Lijo Jose Pellissery won the award for Best Director for the film, Jallikkattu (2019). This is the director's second consecutive win. His previous film, Ee Ma Yau (2018), won him the award last year.

Pellissery was presented the award by Union minister of state for environment, forests and climate change Babul Supriyo, in the presence of directors Rohit Shetty and Ramesh Sippy.

Goa governor Satyapal Malik, chief guest, said cinema is a powerful medium which can have a deep and far-reaching impact on society, and appealed to filmmakers to make films on socially relevant issues to help improve society.

Ananth Mahadevan's Mai Ghat: Crime No 103/2005 won for Usha Jadhav a Silver Peacock for Best Actor (Female). The film is based on the true story of a mother who fought for 13 years to get justice for her murdered son.

The award for Best Actor (Male) was presented to Brazilian actor Seu Jorge for his performance in journalist-turned-filmmaker Wagner Moura's directorial debut Marighella, a film based on the life of the politician and guerilla fighter Carlos Marighella.

Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden won a Special Jury award for his film, Balloon (2019). The film, set in the Tibetan grasslands, was chosen for “the beauty of the film language and the authenticity of the actors”. 

The Algerian film Abou Leila (2019), by Amin Sidi-Boumediene, and Monsters (2019) by the Romanian filmmaker Marius Olteanu were jointly awarded Best Debut Film of a director. Abou Leila tells the tale of two childhood friends who crossed the desert in search of Abu Leila, a dangerous terrorist. Monsters tells a relationship drama in three chapters that describes the state of a couple over 24 hours.

Abhishek Shah's critically acclaimed Hellaro continued its winning run, garnering a Special Mention from the jury for its "incredible music, colour and graceful choreography" at the IFFI golden jubilee edition. In a statement, the festival jury said, "Though set in a time 45 years ago, the issue of women’s empowerment portrayed in the film is even more relevant today." 

Lijo Jose Pellissery, however, missed out on the Best Film award, which was collected by French filmmaker Blaise Harrison for Particles (2019). 

Italian film Rwanda, directed by Riccardo Salvetti, won The ICFT-UNESCO Gandhi Medal instituted by the International Council for Film, Television and Audiovisual Communication, Paris, and UNESCO.

Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan collected the ICFT Special Mention award for his film, Bahattar Hoorein. 

Music composer Ilaiyaraaja, veteran actor Prem Chopra, Takashi Miike, Wagner Moura, Rakul Preet Singh, Vijay Deverakonda, Rohit Shetty, Aanand L Rai, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Nithya Menen and other luminaries of the film fraternity graced the function.

Goa's deputy chief ministers Manohar Ajgaonkar and Chandrakanth Kavlekar, members of Parliament Roopa Ganguly and Ravi Kishan, Goa chief secretary Parimal Rai, Entertainment Society of Goa vice-chairman Subhash Phal Desai, IFFI steering committee members Shaji N Karun and Rahul Rawail, and international jury members John Bailey, Robin Campillo, Zhang Yang, Lynne Ramsay and Ramesh Sippy were also present.

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