Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa met with leading Indian movie star Amitabh Bachchan, Brand Ambassador of the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) at President's House.
Mr. Bachchan is in Colombo for the official launch if IIFA 2010, the largest annual event of Bollywood cinema which will be held in Colombo in June this year.
At the meeting which lasted 45 minutes, President Rajapaksa and Mr. Bachchan discussed aspects of the Indian and Sri Lankan film industries, with emphasis on developing good cinema of 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 his government is keen to develop the Sri Lanka film industry and sees many possibilities of partnership with India in this regard. Mr. Bachchan was impressed by the work already done in establishing the Mahinda Rajapaksa National Tele-Cinema Park, at Tissamaharama, a brainchild of the President.
Mr. 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 people's desire to live in peace and harmony. He was also very positive on the prospects of tourism development in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan President and Mr. Bachchan also discussed cricket which both follow keenly, and Mr. Bachchan said he was impressed by the performance of all Sri Lankan players in the current IPL series. President Rajapaksa said that part of this success was the encouragement given to rural youth by the government to participate in cricket and intentional sports.
Also present at the meeting were Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Additional Secretary to the President Gamini Senarath, Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Secretary of Tourism Ministry George Michael, Secretary to of Media and Information Ministry W. B. Ganegala, acclaimed movie stars of Sri Lanka Malinie Fonseka and Ravindra Randeniya, former Miss Sri Lanka and Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez, and Joseph Sabbas and Ms. Shefani Munshi of Wizcraft Enterprises International of India.