Want to watch Bengali films before they release at a theatre near you? Well, you can do that at the 22nd Kolkata International Film Festival, which starts November 11. As many as eight Bengali films, both by popular and lesser-known directors, will be screened in the Bengali Panorama section at KIFF 2016. And none of the films have had a theatrical release yet.
So, one can get to watch Aniket Chattopadhyay’s Sankar Mudi, starring Kaushik Ganguly, Anjan Dutt and Saswata Chatterjee, which focuses on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Kabir Suman has composed the music for the film.
Agnidev Chatterjee’s much-awaited Gaheen Hriday, based on late author Suchitra Bhattacharya’s work, will also be screened. The film, starring Rituparna Sengupta and Debsanker Halder in lead roles, explores the relationship of a married couple.
Sudeshna Roy and Abhijit Guha’s Benche Thakar Gaan, a film revolving around an old-age home, Satarupa Sanyal’s Andhokarer Nodi and Reshmi Mitra’s Indo-Bangladesh film, Hotath Dekha, based on Rabindranath Tagore’s work, too will be screened at this year’s festival.
Other films, which have been selected for screening, are director Deep Choudhary’s Alifa, starring Jaya Seal Ghosh, Samik Roy Choudhury’s D Major and Anirban Paria’s relationship drama Baaje Chobi, starring Priyanka Sarkar, Soumitra Chatterjee and Kaushik Sen.
According to industry insiders, the film festival is fast becoming a platform for popular Bengali directors, which wasn’t the case earlier. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had always wanted to make the film festival popular among the masses and not restrict it to film buffs and intellectuals. But not all moviegoers, who wait for the entire year to watch films at KIFF, are happy with the films selected for screening in Bengali Panorama. “Why should I watch a Bengali film at a film festival when I know it will release at the theatre. Instead, I will watch other international films, which have won awards,” says Joy Chakraborty, a 21-year-old film student.
Sudeshna Roy, known for making light-hearted films such as Cross Connection, Biye Not Out and Bitnoon, has explored the dilemma of old age, in her new film Benche Thakar Gaan. The film stars a number of veteran actors such as Paran Bandopadhyay, Alokananda Roy, Anamika Saha and Dwijen Bandopadhyay and is up for a December release. So, will the screening of the film at KIFF affect the theatrical release of the film? “Our film Teen Yaari Katha was screened twice at KIFF before it released in 2012. Yet, audiences came to watch the film at the theatres,” says Roy with an air of confidence.
Debutant director Samik Roy Choudhury is delighted that his film, D Major, which revolves around a young girl, who’s an aspiring musician and becomes a drug addict, too has found a place at KIFF. Choudhury also won the best director award at the FOG international film festival, which was held in San Francisco in August.
Director Mahua Chakraborty’s yet-unreleased film, Tanzil, starring Amrita Chattopadhyay in the titular role, has been selected for screening in the International Competition: Women Directors’ Films section. Director Shankha Ghosh’s Atin Ela & Char Adhyay, based on Rabindranath Tagore’s Char Adhyay, might also be screened in the competitive section.