Gems of Indian cinema Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Mithun Chakraborty and Kamal Hassan came together Sunday with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to inaugurate the 19th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF).
Big B, Jaya, Hassan, Mithu and Shahrukh led the ceremonial lamp lighting and veterans from Bengali cinema, including actor and guest of honour Prosenjit Chatterjee, followed suit at the Netaji Indoor Stadium.
Distinguished guests, including filmmaker Sandip Ray, Bengali film actress Sabitri Chatterjee and Supriya Devi, Dipankar Dey and music director Dwijen Mukherjee, also participated in the lamp lighting that concluded with Big B releasing the brochure of the fest.
Seen in the star-studded audience were actors Konkona Sen Sharma, singer Usha Uthup, actor-filmmaker Aparna Sen and former Indian football captain PK Banerjee. 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.
Jaya, looking stunning in a bright red silk sari, was seen chatting with Banerjee who also exchanged words with Shah Rukh, looking dapper in a black-grey tuxedo and neat ponytail. Gracing the occasion were noted Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai, Turkish director Reha Erdem and other international delegates. As the 19th KIFF will highlight south-east Asian cinema, the majority of delegates were from the region.
The star-spangled evening was pepped up by Bengali stars June Maliah and Jisshu Sengupta's energy-infusing emceeing skills. Injecting a dose of nostalgia into the evening was creative dancer Sukalyann Bhattacharya with his entourage relaying the evolution of a century of Indian cinema through the 10-minute opening act 'Down Memory Lane'. IANS
The stage transformed itself with posters, black and white film reels, light reflectors, trolleys as 100 dancers, including children, took to the stage with cult songs from Hindi and Bengali films playing in the background.
Divided into three segments, the choreography spanned across landmark moments in Indian cinema beginning with the first full-length feature film Raja Harishchandra in 1913 by Dadasaheb Phalke.
The First Scene...
The first scene of the act featured a shooting scene in the old days using black-and-white silhouettes.
The entire journey was jazzed up with Chinese lion dancers prancing around on the stage.
Shahrukh Left Stumped
Shahrukh Khan and Kamal Hassan were left stumped with the hands-on approach of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. After seeing Banerjee running around the stage to check all arrangements while inaugurating the 19th edition of the Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF), an amused Hassan said, "She is a dynamo of energy and very surprisingly not interested in sitting in the chair for too long."
Kamal Hassan adds, "I am quite surprised, I am not used to it." He added, "This is my first encounter with your honourable Chief Minister. So I was looking forward to a Chief Minister, but I found a sister. I know why you call her that ('didi') now." He claims that Banerjee's approach is like the head of a family who is busy inviting everyone.
SRK Addresses CM As Didi...
Shahrukh Khan, who addresses the CM as 'Didi', said, "It is extremely wonderful to see her running around, jumping around, making this a wonderful Kolkata International Film Festival coming alive with her energy."
Khan, The Brand Ambassador Of WB
Also the brand ambassador of West Bengal, Khan, described her as someone who is charming, energetic and hyperactive. To the delegates and film lovers attending the eight-day carnival, Khan said, "You are perhaps in the most greatest, the most charming and loving city in the world just like the Chief Minister herself."
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan and his actor-wife Jaya were also present at the high-decibel inauguration of KIFF at the Netaji Indoor Stadium.