Culture buffs in Kolkata are in for great time with a heady concoction of Bollywood, Hollywood and world cinema awaiting them as the 20th edition of the Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) -- India's second oldest movie fest - takes off on Monday.
The eight-day extravaganza will see megastar Amitabh Bachchan and his family, superstar Shah Rukh Khan and a host of film personalities rev up the glam quotient at the Netaji Indoor Stadium.
Boasting of a rich oeuvre of 137 films from 60 countries, the fest will see 40 international delegates and 15 segments. There will be 31 Indian films, including 13 Bengali films. It will conclude November 17.
There are a few firsts in this edition.
For the first time, the fest turns competitive with 15 films by women directors from across the globe competing for the top jury award -- the Golden Royal Bengal Tiger trophy in the Women Directors segment. Also, this year there is no private sponsorship.
Headed by award-winning Australian filmmaker Paul Cox, the jury will comprise Iranian director Nikki Karimi and Indian filmmaker Amol Palekar and others.
The inclusion of 2014 French drama and experimental 3D film Goodbye to Language by renowned French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard is set to create new benchmarks.
The focus will be on cinema from Arab nations and a special section has been earmarked as a tribute to legendary Bengali actor Suchitra Sen, who died January 17 this year in Kolkata. Seven of her films will be screened as part of this.
Hollywood classics such as Guns of Navarone, The Sound of Music and Jighangsa by Ajoy Kar will be screened at the Centenary Tribute section.
For the Great Master segment, seven films including Lolita, 2001: A Space Odyssey by American director Stanley Kubrick will be shown.
Additions include a Bengali Panorama section, where five films by Bengali filmmakers will have their world premiere.
The Satyajit Ray Memorial lecture will be delivered by director Govind Nihalani and the screening locations will be spread across 12 venues. A Children Screening section and French Classics segments are the other highlights, apart from contemporary world films of 2013 and 2014.
The inaugural film selected is the Italian movie Italo Barocco by Alessia Scarso. The inaugural ceremony will be presided over by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alongwith the Bachchan clan, SRK, Deepika Padukone, veteran actor Tanuja and actor Irrfan Khan.
The fest will conclude with the award ceremony. Director Farah Khan and actor Rani Mukerji will be among the dignitaries present for it.