Chief minister Mamata Banerjee wants Amitabh Bachchan to inaugurate the 18th Kolkata Film Festival (KFF) that will be held between November 10 and 17. Last year, Shah Rukh Khan had inaugurated the festival. The chief minister has asked the KFF authorities to get a date from Big B.
According to sources, a senior journalist who is also a member of the KFF executive committee had arranged King Khan’s date last year. “He has been asked to try to get Bachchan’s nod for inaugurating the festival,” a source said. However, KFF officials declined to comment saying that that nothing has matured yet.
Mamata has tried to change the character of the festival since taking over responsibilities at the Writers’ Buildings and decided to incorporate personalities and elements of popular culture. She wanted more involvement of Bollywood and Tollywood to make KFF popular with the public.
The pet programme of former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee witnessed a number of changes. Prominent Tollywood personalities such as Ranjit Mallik and Haranath Chakraborty were given important charge, while the inaugural ceremony, for the first time, was brought out of the Nandan premises and held at Netaji Indoor Stadium.
For the first time, masses witnessed the inaugural ceremony, which was much more glittering than in other editions of the fest with inclusion of a number of cultural programmes. This year, too, the chief minister wants the inaugural ceremony to be an entertaining event. “Most of the ideas are in initial stages, as we still have time. The executive committee has met only twice. The screening committee for selecting films has started work but it would take more time to finalise the list,” a source told HT.
Earlier, Mamata had asked the KFF officials to try to change the dates of the festival, as it is clashing with Diwali and Bhai Phonta. Accordingly, KFF officials sought opinion from International Federation of Film Producers’ Association (FIAPF), the international monitoring authority for film festivals, as KFF has been part of the international calendar of film festivals. However, FIAPF did not approve the idea.