Yesterday, one of the most anticipated events in this year’s programme, Aamir Khan: In Conversation, brought the house down in the Waterfront Hall.
We were honoured that Aamir Khan, one of the BIGGEST stars of Indian Cinema, travelled from Mumbai to Belfast to take part in a rare public event.
The hours before the event you could feel the energy reverberating around the Waterfront Hall as families, film crews, film lovers and fans, gathered all over Europe to attend the event, which was also British Sign Language interpreted. You could feel the impact he has had, and continues to have, on so many people’s lives.
Our chair, Mark Cousins, bounded onto the stage and introduced our host for the evening, Nasreen Munni Kabir. Cousins referred to Nasreen as “the bridge between these islands and Indian Cinema for many years”. We were honoured to have Nasreen as our host – As an academic, author of 17 books on Hindi cinema, filmmaker of over 80 TV programmes on Indian film and curator of C4’s annual Indian film season, there really was no-one more qualified to welcome and facilitate this event.
Aamir Khan then came on stage to thunderous applause and a standing ovation-his name was chanted and echoed around the auditorium. We had never seen anything like it in our 19 years as a festival! Aamir asked, as he looked out at the crowd, “Can we turn on the lights so I can see you all?” which was met with another cheer. The lights shone on the audience as Aamir looked moved at the reception.
Aamir went into depth about his prolific career as an actor, producer and director and revealed stories from the sets of some of his biggest films such as Taare Zameen Par, Dangal and Lagaan. He opened up about being an actor and revealed some acting tips – how you can make a character seem innocent through a simple trick with eyelashes, the importance of a strong character carrying the movie and how to stand depending on what character you are playing.
He talked of his life, India, China and the importance of watching films from other countries and embracing world cinema.
One of his comments instantly went viral, “Creative people build the social fabric of society. The stories I learned as a kid are the ones that made me who I am today. Societies are built of people, and these people are influenced by the stories from creative people.”
People commented that he was wonderful, informative, graceful, powerful, charming, funny, warm – every positive adjective in the world!
Joan Parsons (Head Of QFT, Belfast) took to Twitter to comment after, “Genuinely, this is one of the most significant film events to happen in the UK for quite some time”.
And Mark Cousins tweeted, “Aamir Khan’s event at Belfast Film Festival last night was unforgettable. Epic, moving, passionately cinephile and about how film and TV can change society.”
We are so proud to be promoting a diverse range of events and films from around the world. Thank you Aamir for uniting us in Belfast last night and to Nasreen Munni Kabir for your key role in making this event happen.
But let’s not forget what else happened on Day 6!
Over in the Queen’s Film Theatre, Bronagh Waugh introduced Steel Country to a packed out screening, the new, atmospheric thriller that she stars in alongside Andrew Scott – “Part of the reason I’m here with Steel Country is to support independent film.”
In the Black Box we screened the Chasing Grace Project, a documentary series about woman in tech. Following the screening there was a panel discussion with Woman Who Code Belfast and Puppet Belfast.
In The Strand Arts Centre BBC’s Ralph McLean introduced the David Fincher classic in its 20th year, Fight Club. Audiences enjoyed it with some tasty Birra Moretti’s!
And we finished up the day with a sold out screening of the terrifying new Indonesian horror, Satan’s Slaves in the Beanbag cinema.