KIFF now a true mass festival

There was a time when the Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) was known as an ‘intellectual’ event.

Mamata Banerjee changed things completely when she became chief minister. The mass leader that she was, she made KIFF an event for the masses but without compromising on quality. Varieties of films began to be shown – entertaining, middle-of-the-road, as well as of a higher order.

Mamata Banerjee brought the inauguration ceremony (which includes the inaugural film) to the Netaji Indoor Stadium – a 10,000-seater stadium.

Guests invited to the film festival acquired a much wider variety too. Popular film stars began to be invited, including to the inauguration and conclusion ceremonies. The participation of the local Tollywood film industry is now specially sought.

Another aspect of mass participation is ‘Parae Parae Cinema’ – wherein film shows are held on mobile vans in localities across Kolkata. It was introduced at the 2016 edition.

To increase and improve the quality of the participating films, a competition section was introduced. The Golden Royal Bengal Tiger Award was originally given to the best film by a woman director. From 2018, the competition section has been opened to all. To add to the interest this year, two Bengali films have been included to the competition section for the best international film.

This year, people of not just Kolkata but surrounding places too would be able to enjoy the best of international cinema, as PVR Avani (Riverside Mall) In Howrah and PVR Diamond City (Diamond City Mall) in Dum Dum have been added to the list of cinemas participating in the film festival. The number of show venues has also been increased to 16 this year.

The number of films is also increasing year by year. The 24th edition has 170 films from about 70 countries.

Last but not the least is the aspect of food. Kolkata is synonymous with love for good food. Now, the Nandan-Rabindra Sadan complex hosts several stalls set by well-known restaurants and food chains during the duration of the festival, and they are invariably chock-a-block.

Kolkata International Film Festival is now truly a mass event. Every year now, people wait eagerly for November 10 and bid a sad goodbye on November 17, looking forward to another beautiful bouquet of films the next year.

Bangla CM inaugurates Kolkata International Film Festival at a star-studded ceremony

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today inaugurated the 24th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) at a star-studded ceremony. The inaugural ceremony which took place at the Netaji Indoor Stadium, Kolkata was attended by the famous Iranian director Majid Majidi, Dadasaheb Phalke awardee Soumitra Chatterjee, Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan, the State’s brand ambassador, Shah Rukh Khan, as well as Waheeda Rehman, Nandita Das, Mahesh Bhatt.

Dignitaries from other countries – Phillip Noyce, Jil Bilcock, Simon Baker – were present as well, along with artistes and members of the Bengali film fraternity. The highlight of this year’s festival is 100 years of Bengali cinema, and there would be films by legends like Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen and others.

The theme country this year is Australia, to be represented by film editor Jill Elizabeth Bilcock, and film-makers Phillip Noyce and Simon Becker. The Special Focus country this year would be Tunisia.

Highlights of the Chief Minister’s speech:

Your presence encourages us. Bengal welcomes all of you. Enjoy the magic of cinema in Bengal.

More than 70 countries are participating in the festival. More than 170 films will be screened. Australia is our partner country this year.

From Amitabh Bachchan to Soumitra Chatterjee, Shah Rukh to Prosenjit, to the younger generation of actors – everyone is present here.

On the occasion of 100 years of Bengali cinema we pay our homage to all the stalwarts, the artistes who took cinema to great heights.

We are blessed to have legendary figures like Madhabi Di, Sabitri Di in our midst.

If our industry gets the support, we can beat Hollywood, in terms of talent.

Bengal is the cultural capital of not only India but the world. We are the best in every sphere.

Next year we will celebrate the 25th year of Kolkata International Film Festival. We seek the vision of AB, SRK on how to celebrate it in a big way.

KIFF had lost its charm in the past, we restored it after coming to power.

We have to honour our technicians too. Our industry is incomplete without them.

I agree with Mahesh (Bhatt) Ji. Our country needs a vision.

Only in Netaji Indoor Stadium, Kolkata more than 20,000 people watch a film together in one venue. Nowhere in the world so many people watch a film together.

To commemorate the completion of 100 years of Bengali cinema, we will screen Antony Firingee as the inaugural film this year.

Why will we not organise festivals? Festivals are for all. Compete with us on the plank of development.

Unity is strength. Let us all stay united.

Consider Bangla your home: Mamata Banerjee at Silicon valley hub foundation laying ceremony

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee laid the foundation stone of Bangla Silicon Valley hub today. It will be located in Newtown.

This information technology (IT) industry hub has been conceived on the lines of the famous Silicon Valley in USA, and hence the name.

The hub commands a huge 100-acre vista, where national and international IT and IT-enabled service companies are expected to create numerous jobs for people from Bangla. It will also act as a centre of excellence for the IT industry, and will attract some of the biggest names of the world.

Highlights of the Chief Minister’s speech:

The GDP growth rate of Bangla is 9.15%. We are very much ahead. Even if you see the GVA growth rate – India is 6.5% and Bengal is 9.59%.

Industry sector – India 5.54% and Bengal 16.29% (3 times more). Service sector growth for India is 8.30% and Bengal is growing at 15.61%. In the agriculture sector, India’s growth rate is 2.10% and for Bengal it is 2.28%

Unemployment is a big problem in India. You will be happy to know, as per a report of the Union Ministry of Labour, Bengal’s unemployment has reduced by 40%. The credit must go to my industry friends, small industries, unorganised sector as well as the IT industry.

Sometimes I feel bad that the IT industry is mainly based in Bangalore and Hyderabad. Of course the infrastructure was better there. At that time we were not in power.

We do not believe in coming to power for the love of chair. We believe in power to take care.

Bangalore and Hyderabad have become congested. I urge you to come to Bengal. You will get more talented people. If you invest in Bengal, those who are currently working elsewhere will also come back here.

Our young generation is working across the world. They are very dedicated, devoted, determined and sincere. They need respect, not money. I believe they can deliver any job, better than anybody else.

It was my challenge that we have to conquer the world. That’s why we have started the Silicon Valley hub today. If America has a Silicon Valley, Bangla also will have a second Silicon Valley.

We have 100 acres of land available. Set up your IT industry here. If you require more, I will ask the authorities to keep another 100 acres ready. Whatever we can, we will try our best.

Bangla is the gateway to north east India. You can set up your industry in Darjeeling also. Bangla is also the gateway to Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha are our adjacent states. We are only 3 hours away from Singapore. Bangkok is also 2 hours away.

If you invest here, you can tap into the potential of young students. We can give you more productivity, talent, researchers. I am proud to say, everywhere in the world, you will find a Bengali.

This is your State also. Treat this as your home. Nurture this as your baby. The asset is your working capital. I assure all cooperation from State Government. Consider us as your sweet family.

Mumtaz Sanghahmita speaks on The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018


Thank you, Sir, for allowing me to speak. This Amendment Bill is basically dealing with the increase in the duration of punishment according to the age of the victim, and this would act as a deterrent. There is also provision in the Amendment for reducing the period for preparing the evidences and for getting the victim’s point of view from three months to two months, and for the accused to be put on trial within six months.

My point is this criteria of age. Rape is rape whether it affects a two-year-old girl or a 100-year-old lady. Yes, I’m supporting the view that the former is a more heinous crime. Another point is that in the Amendment, it is written as above 16 or above 12 but the punishment will be extended throughout his life. On this point, since nowadays prisons are called correctional homes, and a rapist also suffers from a psychological disease, why can’t we put them to trial in a psychiatric or psycho-analytical home, and according to the findings, extend their sentence?

The other important point is about death penalty. When all over the world there are two schools of thought towards the imposition of death penalty, why are we going back to the primitive death penalty? We are not thinking about rehabilitation.

Gang-rape is a purposefully done act and it has been seen that it is usually committed by people from poor socio-economic background, and in some cases, there is an angle of revenge involved, as seen in many gang-rapes of Dalits. So we also have to look into this.

I also support the Member who has spoken about women police being asked to investigate cases of rape. As a gynaecologist, I know that it can sometimes be difficult to prove a rape, and hence more the need for female police personnel.

Thank you, Sir.

Amendment moved to The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018

Sir, one point. Evidence may be lost in the process of giving treatment to a rape victim. Hence, it should be that kits should be made available to hospitals to enable the collection of body fluids with swab, after which the treatment may start.


Jago Bangla 27 July, 2018

মানুষের মহাসাগরে ৪২ এর শপথ মমতার – লড়াই মানুষকে সঙ্গে নিয়ে

১৯ জানুয়ারি ব্রিগেড, বিজেপিকে হটিয়ে দেশ বাঁচানোর ডাক