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.