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West Bengal: Entertainment

No longer in vogue

 

The state government changes the film festival venue
SNEHANGSHU ADHIKARI | Issue Dated: November 13, 2011, New Delhi
Tags : kolkata | cultural hub | nandan | IFFI | buddhadev | ranjit mallick | bengali movies |
 

Kolkata’s cultural hub Nandan is all set to lose its prime position during the Kolkata Film Festival (KFF) week starting November 10. Which is different because for the first time in its checkered history since its inception by the Left Front government 17 years ago, the inaugural venue has been shifted to the Netaji Indoor Stadium from Nandan. The question is whether this is part of Mamta Bannerjee’s ‘Paribartan’ package? For the CPM and the Left Front, Nandan was more like a ‘second home’ to former chief minister Buddhadev Bhattarcharjee since it was inaugurated in 1985.


Buddhadev was then cultural minister in Jyoti Basu’s government. Mamata, by the virtue of being in the opposition, has always kept her distance from the world of glamour. Last year when she got a central invitation to inaugurate the 41st International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2010 at Kala Academy in Goa, she had kept her own counsel. Now as chief minister, she holds the portfolio of the ministry of information and cultural affairs. In addition, she has actors Tapas Paul, Shatabdi Roy, Debashree Roy and school and higher education minister, Chiranjeet, Bratya Basu on her legislator’s list.


A couple of months ago, the chief minister had plans for renovating the Nandan complex by sanctioning an initial fund of Rs 25 lakh. Then, out of the blue, has come the decision to shift the inaugural venue to Netaji Indoor stadium. To justify the government’s move, veteran actor and chairperson of the Film Festival Committee Ranjit Mullick said: “Nandan will of course remain an integral part of the festival. It will host several films. The inauguration has been moved to Netaji Indoor for it can accommodate a much bigger audience — about 8,000 to 10,000 people. Hundreds of film enthusiasts want to be a part of the inauguration but are denied the opportunity. So, we have moved the programme this year.”


The state government is promoting the festival as ‘Puja gone… Festival on…’ and if all goes to plan, the 17th Kolkata Film festival will have the likes of Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan and Sharmila Tagore to light the inaugural lamp at Netaji Indoor.


Past records show that Bollywood stars have not been regulars at the KFF even though the presence of internationally acclaimed Mani Ratnam at the 2009 KFF was seen as a surprise. KFF inaugurations have featured some well known regulars like Soumitra Mukherjee, Tarun Majumder and Mrinal Sen. The quality of cinema has also left much to be desired. Critics said that not a single contemporary/national award winning Bengali movie was there in the 2010 schedule. Declaring ‘Kolkata’ as ‘city of joy’ to be the central theme of this festival, the ball is expected to be set rolling with Dutch film “The Magician” and will include more than 150 movies. This is for first time the festival would also have movie screenings at multiplexes around city. It has also increased the number of screening theatres.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017