KIFF opens amid glitz and glamour

KOLKATA: The 19th Kolkata International Film Festival kicked off with a bang on Sunday with actors including Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Mithun Chakraborty and Kamal Haasan gracing the show. The eight-day festival that paid tribute to 100-years of Indian cinema was inaugurated by the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at Netaji Indoor Stadium, who also announced that from its next edition, it will be a competitive affair.

Other distinguished guests like filmmaker Sandip Ray, Bengali film actress Sabitri Chatterjee and Supriya Devi, Dipankar Dey and music director Dwijen Mukherjee, also participated in the lamp lighting ceremony that concluded with Big B releasing the fest’s brochure.

Actors of the regional film industry Dev and Koel Mallick felicitated Big B with an uttariya (scarf) and a metal-cast memento. The other luminaries were welcomed subsequently in a similar manner.

Over the next eight days, the festival will feature 189 films from 63 countries at 13 venues including Nandan-Rabindra Sadan complex, Inox City Centre 1 and Star Theatre. The festival will witness an estimated 3,000 delegates and 24 international guests. Noted Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai is also likely to attend the film festival and also conduct a workshop for film students.

Others who are expected at the event include Bollywood actor Sharmila Tagore, director Madhur Bhandarkar and Shoojit Sarkar, National Award-winning Malayali filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan, among others. Actors Sushmita Sen, Konkona Sen Sharma, Moushumi Chatterjee, Bipasha Basu and Rani Mukherjee will attend the closing ceremony on 17 November.

“The film screening is going to be an enriching experience for cinema connoisseurs,” said experts present at the event.

Shah Rukh Khan, who is also the brand ambassador of West Bengal, hopes that platforms like the KIFF will take Indian films to greater heights. “Creative interactions of this scale will help Indian films reach new heights, something that great filmmakers present tonight, and those who have passed away, like the wonderful Rituparno, dreamt for Indian cinema,” said Khan.

Thousands of film lovers swarmed the venue to attend the glittering ceremony and get a glimpse of their favourite stars present at the event. They were mesmerised by the speech of the actors, especially Bachchan, who interspersed his speech with Bengali words and renditions of Bengali poems.

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