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Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor grace 29th KIFF inauguration KIFF
Photo courtesy: Screenshot grab from Facebook video shared by Mamata Banerjee

Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor grace 29th KIFF inauguration

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 05 Dec 2023, 10:40 pm

Kolkata/IBNS: Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, senior actor Anil Kapoor were among the top personalities from tinseltown to inaugurate the 29th edition of Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) in presence of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the Netaji Indoor Stadium here on Tuesday.

Among other dignitaries who graced the gala opening ceremony were filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, actor-MP Shatrughan Sinha and his actress daughter Sonakshi Sinha, cricket icon and West Bengal brand ambassador Sourav Ganguly.

Like every other year since 2011 when the Mamata Banerjee government expanded the festival to the wider audience, Tollywood top celebrities Prosenjit Chatterjee, Chiranjit Chakraborty, Rituparna Sengupta, Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Dev, Mimi Chakraborty, Nusrat Jahan, festival committee chairperson Raj Chakraborty were present.

The veterans who were on the dais included Sabitri Chatterjee, Madhabi Mukherjee, Lily Chakraborty, Ranjit Mallick, Dipankar De, Paran Bandyopadhyay, Anjan Dutt.

Photo courtesy: Screenshot grab from Facebook video shared by Mamata BanerjeePhoto courtesy: Screenshot grab from Facebook video shared by Mamata Banerjee

Leading the jam-packed Netaji Indoor Stadium audience to loud cheer, Salman, who rarely visits Kolkata, said, "I think this is one of the largest film festivals that I have been to. I wasn't aware."

Talking about Bengal's connection with Bollywood, the 57-year-old said, "It is fantastic. Today the Hindi film industry is there because of the participation of all you people... that is during the time when the Hindi film industry was booming."

The eight-day mega festival will screen around 219 films from 39 different countries, 72 features and 50 shorts and documentaries in different competition categories of KIFF, according to festival committee chairperson Raj Chakraborty.

Spain will be the focus country in the festival and six contemporary works from that country will be shown during the week.

Thirteen films from across the globe will vie for the Best Film and Best Director Golden Royal Bengal Trophies in the International Competition (Innovation in Moving Images) with prize money of Rs 51 lakh and Rs 21 lakh respectively in the festival, according to state minister and KIFF chief advisor Aroop Biswas.

In an elaborate speech, Anil Kapoor talked about the legends from Kolkata like Satyajit Ray, Uttam Kumar saying, "Speaking of inspiration, my son Harsh (Harshvardhan) and I often find ourselves delving into the timeless works of Satyajit Ray for a masterclass in storytelling. 

"It's a way of connecting to the roots of cinematic brilliance and I can confidently say that the roots are deeply embedded in the cultural soil of Kolkata."

Photo courtesy: Screenshot grab from Facebook video shared by Mamata BanerjeePhoto courtesy: Screenshot grab from Facebook video shared by Mamata Banerjee

Meanwhile, the 1963 Bengali classic 'Deya Neya', starring Mahanayak Uttam Kumar and Tanuja,was the inaugural film of the festival this year.

The Bengali Panorama section will be competitive for the first time with prize money of Rs 7.5 lakh for the winner.

The Centenary tribute section will be studded with films by Mrinal Sen, Dev Anand and Richard Attenborough along with five others.

While the prestigious Satyajit Ray Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Laurence Kardish on December 9, Manoj Bajpayee and Sudhir Mishra will address one of the masterclass sessions on acting and direction.

The festival will run till December 12.

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