The International Film Festival of India 2017 Goa was in the news in a negative light before it was inaugurated yesterday and came in another one right after as well. As it took off, Rajkummar Rao, who’s co-hosting the film festival, made a small joke regarding the surname of the Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani, and it ended with a calm, but a notable response.
“What a co-incidence Majid Majidi (director of the IFFI’s opening film Beyond the Clouds) is an ‘Irani’ just like our union minister Smriti Irani,” said Rao on the stage. Later, when Irani took the stage to greet everyone, she said, “Rajkummar, I would like the whole country to know that you made fun of Irani — a minister — which shows what a tolerant government we are.” She went on to add, “And I am also expressing this, because I don’t want anyone to say that ‘BJP walon ne actor ki taang todh di’ (BJP workers broke the actor’s leg).” ALSO READ: Smriti Irani Takes a Jibe at Shashi Tharoor Over His ‘Maharaja’ Comment, Asks What will Scindia, Diggi Raja And Amarinder Singh Say
In the rest of her speech, Irani added, “On behalf of the Government of India, I would like to welcome you to the 48th IFFI. We speak almost 1,600 dialects to tell stories, and today’s gathering is unique because it has a five-year-old Pihu, King Khan of romance, Nana Patekar and the ethereal Sridevi. I would like to thank each one of us. Like Shahid Kapoor said that this country is all about celebration, utsav and young energy… It is our endeavour on behalf of the Government of India and the Government of Goa, that we invite filmmakers from around the world.”
Also praising hosts Rajkummar and actress Radhika Apte, she said they are a”pride of not only to the industry or the creative industry but also India per se.”