West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inaugurated the 27th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) on Monday, with a reassurance that Bengali cinema has regained its past glory.
“If the Bengali cinema is not shining bright, would films from various countries participate in the festival?” the Chief Minister said after inaugurating the festival. She said 163 films from 40 countries would be screened at the festival across 10 venues over seven days.
The festival started with a 10-minute programme offering tribute to legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray, whose 100th birth anniversary is being celebrated this year. The opening film was one of his masterpieces Aranyer Din Ratri (Days And Nights In The Forest). Filmmaker Shoojit Sircar will be delivering the Satyajit Ray Memorial Lecture this year.
The festival will also offer a centenary tribute to Hungarian filmmaker Miklos Jancso and filmmaker and critic Chidananda Dasgupta. Finland is the focus country this year and about half-a-dozen films including Tove by Zaida Bergroth and The Other Side Of Hope by Aki Kaurismak will be screened.
Actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha, who was the chief guest at the inauguration, said he would remain a fan of Satyajit Ray and Raj Kapoor all his life. Mr. Sinha recounted his association with legends like Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen. Emphasising that he was committed to cinema, Mr. Sinha said among his unfulfilled dreams was doing films with Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak.
KIFF is being held after a two-year-long break due to the COVID-19 protocol and the festival will conclude on May 1.