With a little more support Bengal film industry can beat Hollywood: CM
Kolkata: Hailing Bengal as the cultural capital of the world, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Saturday that the Bengal film industry if it receives a little more support, can surpass even Hollywood in terms of talent.
"We are proud of the quality of films that are produced by the Bengali film industry. There are so many odds that our industry has to overcome to churn out such quality movies. Tollywood has been doing exceptionally well and if they get minimum support, it has the capacity to beat Hollywood," Banerjee said at the inaugural programme of the star-studded 24th Kolkata International Film Festival on Saturday.
In an apparent dig at the BJP, the Chief Minister also mentioned that some people were only capable of criticising the government's action, but lacked the ability to accomplish a single thing on their own.
"Do you want to see people cry only? Do you have an issue if they smile?" she asked, asserting that despite the criticism by some, her government would keep backing festivals — from Durga Puja to Christmas, and now the film festival.
"We will support organising every festival with equal enthusiasm. Durga Puja, Kali Puja and Diwali had just been celebrated across Bengal with great enthusiasm. Chhath Puja, Jagadhatri Puja and Christmas are coming, and will be celebrated with equal enthusiasm by the people of the state," Banerjee added.
"Festivals bring light and hope in the lives of people and 2019 will be happier," the Trinamool Congress chief said.
She said the Kolkata International Film Festival was setting new standards with the people's participation and urged them to rise above barriers, stay united and to believe in unity "which is our core strength".
The Chief Minister also added that the state government has plans to celebrate the 25th KIFF next year on a grand scale, very similar to the Cannes Film Festival and the Salt Lake Stadium could be the chosen venue where around one lakh people can be accommodated.
"Earlier the inauguration of the film festival was held in Nandan where merely 500 people could attend. I started the function at Netaji Indoor Stadium so that 20,000 people can celebrate the occasion together. Nowhere in the world can so many people watch a film together. Next year will be the 25th year of KIFF and we want to make arrangements for 1 lakh people to witness the mega event at a single venue," she said.
The Chief Minister sought suggestions and guidelines from actors Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan on celebrating the occasion in a befitting manner and said that preparations should start from this year onwards.
Lending support to filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt who during his address reiterated that the narrative of India cannot be reduced to one colour, she said: "I endorse the views of Mahesh Bhattji and I am fond of his outspoken nature."
The trailer of Bengal brand ambassador Shah Rukh Khan's Zero was also screened at the event.
Celebrated Iranian director Majid Majidi and Australian filmmakers Philip Noyce, Jill Bilcock and Simon Baker were the Guests of Honour. Australia is this year's 'focus country' for Kolkata International Film Festival.
Other Bollywood stars who attended the function included Jaya Bachchan, Waheeda Rehman and Nandita Das. Dada Saheb Phalke Awardee Soumitra Chatterjee was also present along with a host of Tollywood actors of yesteryears and contemporary times.
A film directory chronicling the major films made during the period of 1917-2017 was launched by Bachchan at the festival to mark 100 years of Bengali cinema. Antony Firingee, the 1967 Bengali classic was the inaugural movie at the KIFF.