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There is need for freedom of expression: Mamata

Shabana Azmi was the Chief Guest at concluding session

There is need for freedom of expression: Mamata

Kolkata: The 25 edition of the Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) which kick-started on November 8 with the screening of Satyajit Ray-directed Gupi Gayen, Bagha Bayen, concluded on Friday with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee stressing on the necessity of upholding creative freedom of the artistes in the present time.

Speaking on the occasion here at Nazrul Mancha, Banerjee said the freedom of expression of the actors cannot be curbed and cinema has been one of the important mediums to depict the stories taken essentially from practical life.

"Freedom of expression is required now-a-days. Without the freedom of expression nobody will be able to spread his/her message through a work of art. We must uphold our Constitution which provides us with some democratic rights. Film is the most powerful instrument where various stories, derived from practical life are depicted. I appreciate all the directors from our country and abroad and the international juries for turning up for the momentous occasion and for making this event a grand success," Banerjee stated.

"I thank all the directors and juries from abroad for taking the trouble to come here. I request you to come to the city again," Banerjee added.

The Chief Minister also thanked the police and various government departments including the Information and Cultural Affairs (INCA) department for making the event a grand success.

"INCA and police have done a fantastic job. The festival was conducted successfully for the past seven days at different venues. I would also request Raj Chakraborty, Chairman, KIFF, to chalk out plans on how the next edition of the festival can be done in a better way," Banerjee said.

Earlier on the occasion, veteran film actor Shabana Azmi who was the Chief Guest at the concluding session advocated the importance of artistic freedom. She said: "Plural and composite culture is something that India has always celebrated. Indian Constitution guarantees inclusiveness of our culture and this is a matter of pride for us as our country celebrates diversity. Cinema is the focal point of diversity. As the world shrinks and becomes a global village, it is important to recognize our culture. We must understand that the film has the power to open the window to other cultures."

She further maintained: "Art should be used as an instrument of social change and cinema has the ability to create a climate of sensitivity in which it is possible for change to occur. For this to happen, the actors must be given freedom of expression."

She also thanked the Chief Minister for making the KIFF evolve in such a grand manner under her leadership for the past few years. Banerjee has given all her support in recognising the importance of cinema in society and for giving handsome awards to the directors and actors who gave won prizes in various categories, Shabana Azmi said.

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