|Sri Lanka, a country with big heart - Amitabh Bachchan
|Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - 06.59 GMT
Sri Lanka may be a small country but it is a country with a big heart, said Icon of Bollywood cinema Amitabh Bachchan when he visited Sri Lanka yesterday (20) as the Brand Ambassador of the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) to endorse Sri Lanka as the host for IFFA Awards which will be held in Colombo from June 3 to 5.
Bachchan further stated that the event not only takes Indian cinema to the world but also opens doors to exchange of technology and interaction with some of the publics’ favourite stars.
“I admire the manner in which Sri Lanka is trying to integrate harmony and peace among its ethnic and cultural groups in the country. It sets a wonderful example to the world and I would certainly encourage many others to visit the country and explore what it has to offer to them,” he said.
Earlier the Bollywood film star met President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Janadhipathi Mandiraya (President`s House) in Colombo last evening (April 20).
At the meeting which lasted 45 minutes, President Rajapaksa and Bachchan discussed aspects of the Indian and Sri Lankan film industries, with emphasis on developing good cinema in the whole sub-continent, combining the assets and talents of both India and Sri Lanka.
The Bollywood legend told the President that of all the welcomes he had received over the past 10 years with IIFA, the reception he had received in Sri Lanka was by far the very best.
He was also very appreciative of the opportunities for film production available in Sri Lanka, in the current situation of peace and stability that prevails in the country.
President Rajapaksa said the Government was keen to develop the Sri Lanka film industry and saw many possibilities of partnership with India in this regard. Bachchan was impressed by the work already done in establishing the Mahinda Rajapaksa National Tele-Cinema Park, at Tissamaharama, which is a brainchild of the President.
Bachchan and President Rajapaksa agreed on the need and possibility of building bridges of understanding through the cinema, and the Indian star said he was struck by the integration of the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim cultures in the welcome dance forms that he saw, which showed the peoples` desire to live in peace and harmony. He was also very positive on the prospects of tourism development in Sri Lanka.
President Rajapaksa and Bachchan also discussed cricket which both of them follow keenly, and Bachchan said he was struck by the very good performance of all Sri Lankan players in the current IPL series. President Rajapaksa said that part of this success was the encouragement given by to rural youth to participate in cricket and international sports by the Government, Daily News reported.
The IIFA weekend which will comprise events such as the FICCI IIFA Global Business Forum, the IIFA Fashion Extravaganza, the IIFA Foundation Celebrity Cricket match, world premieres of Indian films and IIFA Film Workshop will also take place along side the 11th IIFA Awards.
The main attraction of the lineup, the awards ceremony, will be held at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium on June 5.
The IIFA Awards is the biggest South Asian media event and is broadcast to 600 million across 110 countries.