Bengali Films Deeply Rooted in the Ground, National Talent Pool: Mamata at the Film Festival

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday inaugurated the 27th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) at Nazrul Manch here, and said the state’s film industry may be short of financial resources, but the films made in Bengali are deeply rooted in the soil.

Banerjee also called on the ceremony’s chief guest, Bollywood actor turned TMC MP, Shatrughan Sinha, to bring investment into the Bengali film industry, “which produces rich content”.

”Bengali films are the best in the world, deeply rooted in the soil here. The state is a reservoir of talent. Bollywood has money, people to invest… I appreciate that. I would ask Shatrughan ji to help the Bengali film industry by bringing in more investment,” the CM said.

She also said that Bengal is blessed with scenic landscapes for film shoots.

“We have sea beaches, deep forests, wildlife like the Royal Bengal Tiger. We also have state-of-the-art filming complexes like Telly Academy near Kolkata, where world-class infrastructure is available for both fiction and non-fiction content,” Banerjee said. She pointed out that cult films like ‘Pather Panchali’ and ‘Meghe Dhaka Tara’ were made here.

The CM has asked Chief Secretary HK Dwivedi, who was present at the inaugural ceremony, to include the film sector in the upcoming Bengal Global Business Summit, to be held in February 2023.

”It was an oversight on our part not to include the film industry in this year’s very successful BGBS. We need to market our entertainment business globally,” she said.

She noted that ”the sector creates employment opportunities for many people”.

Speaking about KIFF, which will be held at 10 state-run venues from April 25 to May 1, CM said, “We really made it a global event.” Ruing that last year’s festival n It wasn’t as big as it was this year due to COVID restrictions, she said people couldn’t live in fear forever.

“We didn’t want to deprive moviegoers, members of the film fraternity, of the opportunity to discuss, deliberate and reflect on film,” she said.

The CM also pointed out that KIFF this year held special tribute sessions for author Satyajit Ray and film critic Chidananda Dasgupta on the occasion of their centenary of birth.

She expressed her grief over the passing of stalwarts such as Lata Mangeskar, Bappi Lahiri and Sandhya Mukherjee, recounting the conversations she had with each of them.

Listing the initiatives undertaken by his government, Banerjee said the digitization and restoration of classic films and documentaries by renowned filmmakers was underway.

A film museum is being built where the old Radha studio used to be. The museum will house memorabilia from the Bengali film industry, she said.

The technician’s studio has been refurbished at a cost of Rs 34 crore, Banerjee added.

Shatrughan Sinha, who was the main guest at the ceremony, was congratulated by filmmaker and son of Satyajit Ray, Sandip Ray, on the occasion.

”I thank the people of Asansol for giving me the opportunity to serve democracy. I have to live up to the expectations of them and Mamata ji,” he said, adding that he would not make any political speeches at a film festival.

Speaking to director Goutam Ghosh, who was present at the event, Sinha said, “I call him my friend, philosopher and guide. Although I have made some 250 films, I consider ‘Antarjali Yatra’ (directed by Ghosh) to be an important film in my career.” Referring to his meeting with Bengal, he said, ”I always been an admirer of Satyajit Ray. Those who call me ‘Mahan kalakar, I tell them please save those words for Ray, Mrinal Sen and Ritwik Ghatak.’ A rich bouquet of 163 films, including 47 from abroad, will be screened in 10 venues across the state from April 25 to May 1, President Raj Chakraborty said.

The inaugural film “Aranyer Din Ratri” was screened during the day just after the ceremony.

Superstars Prasenjit Chatterjee, Dev, Parambrata Chatterjee, CM ministerial colleagues, TMC MP for Ballygunge and singer Babul Supriyo were among those present at the event.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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