City of Joy gearing up for Kolkata International Film Festival

Shyamhari Chakra

NEW DELHI: The 26th edition of Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) is scheduled to kick off on January 8.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will inaugurate the eight-day prestigious event.

Slated for November 5 to 12 last year, the festival had to be rescheduled due to Covid crisis.

As a special tribute to legendary actor Soumitra Chatterjee, who passed away recently, the festival will be inaugurated with the screening of Satyajit Ray’s ‘Apur Sansar’ on January 8.

Films will be screened following Covid protocols and screenings will be restricted to government halls this year. One seat will be left vacant between the two and all the venues will follow the 50 per cent occupancy protocol, the hosts have clarified.

The festival will showcase 131 films from 45 countries this year that includes 80 feature films and 50 shorts and documentaries.

The selection was made out of Out of 1170 entries received this year.

January 12 being celebrated as the birthday of Swami Vivekananda, four films made on him will be screened in the festival.

The festival will offer special tributes to Soumitra Chattopadhyay, Fernando Solanas, Kim Ki-Duk, Basu Chatterjee, Rishi Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, Tapas Pal, Amala Shankar and Santu Mukhopadhyay.

Similarly, special centenary tributes will be paid to Federico Fellini, Eric Rohmer, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Hemant Mukhopadhyay and Bhanu Bandopadhyay.

A special exhibition will also be held on the life and work of Soumitra Chattopadhyay whose films ‘Dekha’, ‘Ganadevata’, ‘Wheel Chair’, ‘Akash Kusum’, ‘Mayurakshi’, ‘Kony’, ‘Podokkhep’ and ‘Bohomaan’ will also be part of the special tribute section in addition to the inaugural film.

Director Anubhav Sinha has been invited to deliver the Satyajit Ray Memorial Lecture this year.

KIFF was launched in 1995 as the culmination of the film society movement that drew its inspiration from the masters of Bengali Cinema like Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen.

Since 2011, under the guidance and inspiration of the Chief Minister, the festival has reached a whole new level in terms of profile, publicity and reach.The budget has been increased to make it an attractive annual event.

The festival has also been inclusive involving Bollywood and also by making it accessible to the public, the festival officials maintained.