Interesting bouqueut of world cinema, overwhelming numbers of women movie aficionado and presence of Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan drew the 10th Chennai International Film Festival (CIFF) to an inspiring close Thursday.
"This year's festival constituted of 67 percent women and 33 percent men, thus making it a festival where women have superseded men not only in number but also in overall contribution," Tamil actor Parthiepan said.
He added: "We should be lucky to have received 133 foreign films from over 50 countries, a number that has certainly multiplied over the years. And to spend the closing ceremony of a festival of this size with Amitabhji is indeed an experience of a lifetime."
CIFF, which is being currently spearheaded by filmmaker Suhasini Mani Ratnam, was started in 2003 by non-governmental organisation Indo Cine Appreciation Foundation (ICAF), and over the years has grown, thanks to support from members of the Tamil film industry, volunteers and film buffs.
Amitabh, 70, graced the evening as the chief guest and gave away prizes to all the winners.
He appreciated the efforts taken by Suhasini and her team in putting up such a wonderful show and highlighted that women should be treated on a par with men.
"It's high time we understand women power. Fifty percent of our country's strength comes from women, but sadly we're still living in conservative world and therefore continue treating women as weaker sex. It's saddening to learn about all the different wrongdoings happening against women in our country," he said.
He concluded by saying, "I would always love to be associated with the film festivals. I don't even mind ushering guests on such occasions. I've been a great admirer of the Tamil film industry, their work and capabilities. Bollywood may be popular, but don't forget that the Tamil industry is an integral part of the system and without you we are nothing".
Big B also donated Rs.11 lakh towards the festival as a token of appreciation.
The eight-day event screened 154 films across five venues here.
Films from several countries such as Australia, Argentina, Algeria, Austria, France, Belgium and many more were screened at the festival.
Some of the best films screened include Palme d'Or winning French-drama "Amour", Oscar-nominated Bosnian-drama "Children of Sarajevo", American fantasy-drama "Beasts of Southern Wild" and impressed the cinema fans.
"To pay a meagre amount of Rs.500 and earning access to more than 100 foreign films is truly an experience not to be missed. While one can download copies of most foreign films from the internet, but watching it with audience is definitely a different experience," Rohit, one of festival patrons, told IANS.
As part of "100 years of Indian cinema", Satyajit Ray's "Pather Panchali" and Malayalam drama "Vasunthara" were also screened.
To honour the time and money spent by hundreds of cinema lovers, CIFF dedicated a special award for the passionate film buff.
The award was given to the person who watched and reviewed maximum films screened at the festival and the winner was Pradeep Kumar, who is currently preparing for civil services.
The Hindu organised a two-minute documentary contest called "Slice of Chennai", which captured the essence of the city in two minutes.
Tamil documentary "Dhobi Khana" by S. Lokesh won the first prize worth Rs.30,000, while "Chennai Gaana" by Vydianathan Ramaswamy, another Tamil documentary won the second prize worth Rs.20,000. The third prize of Rs. 10,000 was bagged by a documentary called "World Cinema" by Arikarasudhan.