Film veterans lit the 19th Kolkata International Film Festival
Paying tribute to 100 years of Indian cinema, the 19th edition of the Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) was kicked off on 10th November by veteran actors Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Kamal Hassan, and Mithun Chakraborty, who lit up the inauguration lamp along with West Bengal’s chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that the festival will go competitive from its next edition.
“We are going to make the festival a competitive one in which the best of the films from Hollywood, Bollywood and Tollywood will be invited,” Mamata said at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata.
The chief minister also announced welfare schemes like medi-claim for artistes and technicians and free accommodation for awardees of Banga Bhibhushan. Supriya Devi, legendary heroine who starred in several films opposite Uttam Kumar, became the first recipient of this scheme.
Bollywood’s veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan, who during his initial struggle period worked as an executive in a private company in Kolkata in early 70’s, spoke on relationship between Bengali literature and films, said cinema played the great role as an integrator in the society. “People irrespective of caste and creed rejoice at a scene of happiness and cry during a scene of sorrow. Thus it creates a bond among people,” he said. Referring to films made on novels by Tagore, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay and Bankim Chandra, Bachchan also pointed out that the literary value of their works gave Bengali cinema a new dimension. “Even Satyajit Ray’s films like Charulalata and Aranyer Din Ratri were based on literary works. Directors like Mrinal Sen, Tapan Sinha were inspired by literature as well,” he added.
Another popular actors Shah Rukh Khan and Kamal Hassan also spoke on the occasion, dwelling on the role of cinema and how it grew to shape the Indian society.
Distinguished guests, including filmmaker Sandip Ray, Bengali film actress Sabitri Chatterjee and Supriya Devi, Dipankar Dey and music director Dwijen Mukherjee, also participated in the lamp lighting that concluded with Big B releasing the brochure of the fest.
Seen in the star-studded audience were actors Konkona Sen Sharma, singer Usha Uthup, actor-filmmaker Aparna Sen and former Indian football captain P.K. Banerjee.
The seven day long film festival would screen a total of 189 films in around the 13 venues including the Nandan-Rabindra Sadan complex, Inox City Centre 1 and Star Theatre.