Rajkumar Rao’s ‘Irani’ joke on Union I&B Minister at IFFI evokes this reaction

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The International Film Festival of India (IFFI) opened in Goa on Monday amidst several controversies that almost threatened this annual event.

Among those present on the first day were Shah Rukh Khan, Shahid Kapoor, AR Rahman, Sridevi, Boney Kapoor and daughter Jhanvi, Radhika Apte and Rajkumar Rao.

This after veteran actor Shabana Azmi had called for the boycott of IFFI in the wake of the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani’s silence at the death threats issued to Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Deepika Padukone for Padvamati.

The event was also marred by another controversy over the government’s decision to drop two films — “S Durga” and “Nude” — from the final list of the Indian Panorama section, leading to the resignation of jury president Sujoy Ghosh and members Apurva Asrani and Gyan Correa.

At the event, Shah Rukh Khan regaled the audience with his favourite moves while Rajkumar Rao took a leaf out of Shashi Tharoor’s book to target Irani with his pun.

Rao, who was co-hosting the event with actor Radhika Apte, played with words and said it was a co-incidence that film director Majid Majidi was an “Irani”, just like the Union minister. Majidi’s next film Beyond The Cloud starring Shahid Kapoor’s brother Ishaan Khattar and Malavika Mohanan was screened at IFFI.

To which, Irani jsaid, “Rajkumar Rao, this (incident) should be known to the rest of the country… you poked fun at a minister. And it shows as a government how tolerant we are.”

Shahid Kapoor said, “From running in fields full of mutlicolour flowers to making films on women empowerment, I think Indian cinema has come a long way. I am very proud of this fraternity, the new generation, which is allowing this change to happen and brave people making brave films, sometimes at a great cost.”

On Padmavati row, Shahid said, “It is a film we are very very proud of. I am sure once people see the film, all this will be forgotten.”

“Padmavati” has been mired in controversy since early this year, with Rajput Karni Sena and others claiming that Bhansali has distorted historical facts in the film by depicting a dream sequence between Padmavati and Alauddin Khilji, a charge denied by the director.
The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) sent the film back to the makers, citing “incomplete” application for certification.

When asked about the delay in the certification of the film, CBFC chief Joshi said the board was trying to resolve the issue but needed time, reported PTI.

“We need to understand that the CBFC must take a balanced decision. This situation was not created by the CBFC. It had nothing to do with the protests on the roads. You show the film to media houses and get reviews done but you want the CBFC to deliver a fair and well-thought out decision?” Joshi said on the sidelines of the IFFI opening ceremony.


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