Star-studded start to 19th KIFF

Kolkata, Nov 10 (IANS) Cinema greats Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Mithun Chakraborty and Kamal Haasan dazzled as they came together at the 19th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) at the Netaji Indoor Stadium here Sunday.

Joining them was also West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the curtain-raising event for the festival.

Bengali filmmaker Sandip Ray, veteran actresses Sabitri Chatterjee and Supriya Devi, and actor Dipankar De joined the film stars from Bollywood and the state chief minister in the ceremonial lamp lighting ceremony at the second-oldest film festival in the country.

Creative dancer Sukalyann Bhattacharya and his entourage presented a 10-minute performance that depicted a century of Indian cinema, called "Down Memory Lane".

A packed audience applauded as Jaya Bachchan and Mithun Chakraborty -- both Bengalis -- took to the mike to express their delight at being in the city.

Jaya, looking stunning in a bright red silk saree, was seen chatting with Chief Minister Banerjee, who also exchanged words with King Khan during the speeches.

SRK lauded Banerjee's enthusiasm and zeal in conducting the film festival. Looking dapper in a grey-black tuxedo and a stylish ponytail, King Khan paid homage to late filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh.

In his role as Bengal's brand ambassador, SRK welcomed international and national dignitaries to the festival in Kolkata, which he dubbed the "greatest, the most charming, and the most loving city in the world".

"Festivals like this one are expressions of collective happiness over life, I think. I hope creative interactions of this scale help Indian films reach the height that great filmmakers present tonight, as well as those who passed away, like the wonderful Rituparno, had dreamt of," said Khan, who also remembered Satyajit Ray on the occasion.

Taking the stage, Haasan uttered the lyrics of the song "Shuno Shuno Go Shobe" from his 1977 Bengali film "Kabita".

Hailing Banerjee as a "sister", the versatile actor also highlighted the importance of film festivals in his journey into filmdom.

"The only Bengali I know is 'Shuno Shuno Go Shobe'. All I have learned is from cinema. The best place for me to acquire more knowledge than with sitting under the feet of masters is to come to film festivals. They have inspired me, taught me and spurred me to make films of my own."

Greeted by tumultuous applause was Big B who had enthralled audience last year with his "Banglar Jamai" address. Looking regal in a black bandhgala, he started off with words in Bangla and relayed the importance of cinema as a "unifier" and "integrator".

Speaking in Bengali, Amitabh Bachchan conveyed to the audience the nostalgia he felt in returning to Kolkata. He narrated the journey of Bengali cinema and highlighted its contributions to Indian cinema in his baritone, to a bewitched, packed house.

Humbly dressed in her trademark white cotton saree, Chief Minister Banerjee congratulated each of the participants and reiterated the amalgamation of Bollywood, Hollywood and Tollywood. She described Big B as an "icon of filmworld" and appreciated his words on the history of Bengali cinema.

"Tollywood, Bollywood, Hollywood, technicians, sports world and cultural personalities all are present. I am really grateful to all," the chief minister said.

An unreleased film "Taak Jhaank" of the iconic Rituparno Ghosh was screened for the first time to signal the start of the festival.

Screened across 13 venues in the city, the gala affair will witness around 3,000 delegates and 24 international guests. It will show 189 films from 63 countries over eight days.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

On-field action set to divert from off-field drama

On-field action set to divert from off-field drama

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Michael Klinger has revealed he felt compelled to leave South Australia after being told he would be only a fringe part of the Redbacks' plans for next season, and disputed the suggestion that he left… More »

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

The revival of Indo-Pak Test ties could take place in UAE. More »

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

'This time around we will hope to go few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy' More »

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Apart from the foreign players a lot of behind-the-scene activity has taken place in selecting the Indian domestic players. More »

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Leading Spanish club Atletico Madrid and former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are among the owners of eight franchises of a new Indian… More »

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

Kiwi all-rounder wants to utilise the India leg to explore the country’s tourist attractions. More »

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Says his mother made him change his mind. More »

Supreme Court says no to BCCI’s request

Supreme Court says no to BCCI’s request

Bench refuses to grant access to recordings of Srini and Dhoni’s depositions before Mudgal committee. More »

Pietersen’s ‘little’ secret is out

Pietersen’s ‘little’ secret is out

A fractured little finger could now throw the Delhi Daredevils captain out of action at the start of this season. More »

SMA Trophy gets short-changed

SMA Trophy gets short-changed

Key players are away preparing for the IPL, taking the shine off the other domestic T20 fixture. (CYCSPL) More »