A performance by the music maestros of Bengal, a well-researched speech by Amitabh Bachchan and a near perfect speech in Bengali by Shah Rukh Khan. For those present at the Netaji Indoor Stadium on Friday evening and thousands more glued to TV sets there couldn’t have been a better inauguration ceremony for the 23rd Kolkata International Film Festival.
The stargazers had their fill as well. Giving the legends company on the stage were KIFF chairperson Sabitri Chatterjee, Mahesh Bhatt, Kamal Haasan, Kajol, Kumar Sanu, Sandip Ray, Goutam Ghose, Madhabi Mukherjee, Ranjit Mullick, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Indrani Halder, Dev and Paoli, among others. Shining bright among the celebrities was British director Michael Winterbottom, a retrospective of whose films will be hosted at the ongoing festival.
If the dignitaries were moved by Kolkata’s passion for cinema, chief minister Mamata Banerjee went a step ahead to insist that KIFF is the only festival in India to have retained a truly international character with participation from 53 countries.