In a star-studded affair, Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan inaugurated the 18th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) on Saturday evening with another superstar Shahrukh Khan sharing the dais with him amid a huge turnout of cine lovers and a colourful cultural show.
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It was raining stars at the inaugural function at Netaji Indoor Stadium as gorgeous Bollywood actresses like Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma, who are co-stars of Shahrukh starrer JAB TAK HAI JAAN, also glammed up the evening along with a host of Tollywood actors, while West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee played the beaming host.
Speaking in Bengali, Big B said he is the son-in-law of the city and it is here that the seed of aspiration to be an actor was first sown in the late 1960s when he was working in the city as an executive in a British firm.
‘Kolkata has always been a very special place in my heart, I got my first job as an executive here,’ he said, adding that every Kolkatan is his family.
Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan, who now has a deep connection with the city and Mamata Banerjee after he became a brand ambassador of the state, said he was happy that the city accepted him so warmly.
‘I am someone who has been accepted by the city with open arms,’ said SRK speaking at the inaugural function where he shared the stage with other stars.
Actor Mithun Chakraborty said KFF is one of the best film festivals and he came to attend it this time despite having a very busy schedule.
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‘I was almost threatened and hijacked and brought here from shoot,’ he said in a lighter vein.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she was confident that the Bengali film industry and the young boys and girls from the state would one day reach the top in the film world.
The cultural show’s highlight during the evening was a presentation by musician Debajyoti Mishra and the staging of Balmiki Pratibha directed by danseuse Alokananda Roy and performed by the jail inmates.
The eight-day-long festival will screen 160 films of 40 languages by 38 directors from 62 countries.
There are total 12 venues across the city where films are being screened.
Recognized by the FIAPF as an International Film Festival, Kolkata Film Festival comes of age in its 18th edition as the only international film festival in India in the non-competitive category.