The inaugural programme of the 22nd Kolkata International Film Festival promises to be more glamorous this year. Bollywood celebrities Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Kajol and Jaya Bachchan will be present at the inaugural ceremony, which will be held on November 11 at Netaji Indoor Stadium.
Interestingly, this year, a popular yet-to-release Bengali film, will be the inaugural movie of the fest. “Though it’s an international film festival, the people of Kolkata wholeheartedly participate in it. So, this year, a Bengali film will be the inaugural film at the festival,” said Atri Bhattacharya, information and cultural affairs secretary.
According to sources, Sudeshna Roy and Abhijit Guha’s Beche Thakar Gaan, which revolves around an old-age home, might become the inaugural film.
The festival, which became competitive in 2014 with the introduction of categories such as the Golden Royal Bengal Tiger Award for the Best Film, the Golden Royal Bengal Tiger Award for Best Woman Director and the NETPAC Award, has introduced a new section, Innovation in Moving Images, this year. Nine films from seven countries will be screened under this section.
A total of 155 films from 65 countries will be screened across 13 venues from November 11-18. Special tribute will be paid to Japanese filmmaker Kenji Mizoguchi, where six films of the master will be screened. The KIFF authorities will also screen three films to commemorate the 450th death anniversary of Shakespeare.
Twelve films in documentary competition and 79 films in short films (non-competition) will be screened at the film fest. Seven films on biopic documentary, a new section introduced this year, will also be screened.
The focus country this year is China and Marathi cinema will be the regional focus. Gautam Ghose, chairman of KIFF 2016, said, “Marathi cinema is doing well in festivals and at the box-office. We will also hold sessions on the future and progress of Marathi cinema. Veteran actor Mohan Agashe will be present.”
The Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee actor and theatre personality, Agashe will also deliver the Satyajit Ray Memorial Lecture on November 12. Agashe played a Brahmin priest in Ray’s film Sadgati (1981), which was based on a short story by Munshi Premchand.
One of the highlights of the festival this year will be a special exhibition on Uttam Kumar. Also, 10 films of Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Dardenne Brothers and Ken Loach will be screened under the special tribute section.
Belgian filmmaker Marion Hänsel, who has directed films such as Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, will be the jury chairman of women director competition. Israeli filmmaker Dan Wolman has been appointed as jury chairman of Innovation in Moving Images.
“Our chief minister has always wanted to promote the film festival as a mass event. So, apart from city intellectuals, common people should equally participate in the film,” said minister Arup Biswas.
Biswas also said that under the guidance of the chief minister renovation work is under process at Nandan and Rabindra Sadan premises to make the film fest more spacious and accessible.