6th January, 2021, Kolkata: Just when all festivals over the world are taking a backseat, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee is all set to inaugurate 26th Kolkata International Film festival on the 8th of January, virtually, from Nabanna. The festival shall be on from 8th-15th January.
Unlike every year, there will not be an elaborate opening ceremony in Netaji Indoor Stadium instead Mamata Banerjee’s address along with the Chief Guests’ will be streamed on 50 LED screens all over the city. KIFF has made hoardings that are hung up across Kolkata which are also spreading awareness about the usage of masks and other pandemic relevant precautions. The seating has been reduced to 50% to minimize footfall and ensure physical distancing. The tickets will also be made available for booking from the 7th of January, on Book My Show, for free.
On the 3rd of January, Indranil Sen, Minister of State for Information and Cultural affairs department, Minister Aroop Biswas, Festival Chairman Raj Chokroborty, Actor Paoli Dam and Parabrata Chottopadhyay along with Shantanu Basu, Mitra Chatterjee, Nairanjana Bhattacharjee and Italian Consulate General Gianlucca Rubagotti addressed a press conference and released the logo, the theme music and the Royal Bengal Golden Tiger Trophy. 8 venues have been selected for screening and no private screens have been selected for covid restrictions unlike other years.
132 feature films, documentaries and short films have been selected for screening. There will be special tributary pieces to Soumitra Chatterjee, Fernando Solanus, Kim Ki-Duk, Basu Chatterjee, Rishi Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, Tapas Paul, Amala Shankar and Santu Mukherjee. As a tribute to Soumitra Chatterjee, ‘Apur Sansar’ will be the first to be screened. Centenary tributes will be given to Federico Fellini, Eric Rohmer, Pt. Ravi Shankar, Hemanta Mukhopadhyay and Bhanu Bandyopadhay along with exhibitions.
Restrictive festival did not stop international cinema from reaching Calcutta screens as films from 45 countries shall be screened.
Kolkata Film Festival indeed gave the cine lovers of the city an eventful January while also ensuring safety measures. The success of this festival will perhaps inspire other organizations to carry out cultural events safely.