Kolkata, Nov 10 (IANS) With a balance of glamour and tradition, the 17th Kolkata Film Festival (KFF) started here Thursday with Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan and the popular Sharmila Tagore inaugurating the eight-day fest by lighting the ceremonial lamp.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, host of Bengali film personalities including top star Prosenjit Chatterjee and delegates from across the country and abroad, as also creme de la creme of the culture-loving city were at the Netaji Indoor Stadium to attend the opening of the KFF — the second oldest international film festival of India.
The programme began with a lively performance by the Kolkata Music Academy Orchestra, which played tunes of Rabindra sangeet.
Film directors Aparna Sen, Sandip Ray, poet Shankha Ghosh, writers Sunil Gangopadhay, Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay, and Bengali actor Dev were also present.
The Mamata Shankar Ballet troupe performed after the inaugural speeches.
There are many firsts attached to this edition of the KFF.
For the first time, the fest, concluding Nov 17, has a competitive section, a big dash of Bollywood glamour, screenings at a multiplex and the inaugural event at the Netaji Indoor Stadium instead of the Nandan Film Complex, which has been the nerve centre of the event since its inception in 1995.
This is also the first occasion that the KFF has a theme song, rendered by Bengali singer Nachiketa Chakroborty.
It was also the maiden KFF organised by the Mamata Banerjee regime after the political change in the state. Her predecessor Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the moving force behind the festival till last year, was for the first time not part of the gala, although she had personally gone and invited him.
Around 150 movies, a heady mix of socio-communicational themes and popular entertainment from 50 countries, is slated to be screened at over 11 venues.