Big B, Asha felicitated on opening day of PIFF

Pune: Megastar Amitabh Bachchan and legendary singer Asha Bhosale were on Thursday honoured for "outstanding contribution to the Indian Cinema" at the tenth Pune International Film Festival (PIFF), which was inaugurated this evening.

Bachchan received the award at the hands of noted actor Shriram Lagoo who felicitated him with a `Pagdi` (a traditional Pune headgear). Asha was given the award by renowned music director IIlaiyaraaja, who himself was honoured with the S D Burman Award for Creative Music.

Bollywood actress Rani Mukherjee felicitated actor-director Sachin Pilgoankar for completing fifty years of his career, after starting out as a child artist.

Replying to the felicitation, Bachchan said apart from the number of films which he had shot in the city, "Pune holds a special place in my life because it was here that I met Jaya and decided to marry her".

Asha Bhosale said, "I am proud of being a Marathi and of my association with Pune." IIayaraaja described her as "a fantastic singer". "It is challenging to work with her as she catches ideas of composers very fast," he said.

The festival will screen Indian and foreign films with an international panel of juries including Heinz Badewitz, (Germany), Lorenzo Codelli (Italy) and Borys Lankosz (USA). French film `Top floor left wing` kickstarted the week-long event.