Nandan has a new look. The first day of the 18th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) saw Nandan in an avatar that Kolkata has never witnessed before. Multicoloured paper lanterns and lamps hung from the trees; colourful floral arrangements decorated the entire stretch of Nandan’s entrance and Rabindra Sangeet played continuously to lend to the ambience.
Director Haranath Chakraborty, also a member of the festival committee, said, “Diwali is a festival of lights and this time, Diwali falls during the ongoing film festival. So, we thought why not merge both festivals and celebrate. We got positive responses from the audience on the décor.”
Film buffs love the revamped look of Nandan. “I was taken a back when I entered Nandan… it looks lovely, especially the hanging lamps,” says Ishita, a film student.
Ask Chakraborty whether Diwali and Bhai Phonta will affect the film festival, and he says, “I don’t think so. We are hopeful that audiences will come to the film festival.”
“Apart from the delegates and press, general audience can watch the first show at Nandan every morning if they collect their passes. Entry is free,” says Chakraborty.
Cine buffs took complete advantage of their Sunday holiday, making beeline to watch their favourite international films. The rear stall and the front rows were filled with people, some even standing to watch renowned Italian director, screenwriter Michelangelo Antonioni’s La Notte (The Night), which was screened at 9am on Sunday.
Cinelovers also flocked in huge numbers to watch Michael Cacoyannis’s Oscar winning film Zorba the Greek and Danish director Henning Carlsen’s Memories of My Melancholy Whores, based on the novella by Gabriel García Márquez.
Film lovers were spotted outside Nandan, discussing the films. “I think Antonioni is a little fake, maybe pretentious at times,” said Kavita Roy, who belongs to a film club. There were also people, dressed in new clothes, who just came out to get the feel of the film festival.
Meanwhile, Douglas Mcgrath’s Nicholas Nickleby, based on Charles Dickens’ eponymous novel, which was screened at Sirir Mancha at 11.15 am, didn’t witness a full house. This year, KIFF celebrates the 200 years birth anniversary of author Charles Dickens.
Director Noel Langley’s The Pickwick Papers, based on Dickens’ work, will be screened at Nandan III at 11.15 am on November 16.