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CM inaugurates 26th KIFF, allows 100% occupancy in cinema halls

CM inaugurates 26th KIFF, allows 100% occupancy in cinema halls
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Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday allowed 100 per cent occupancy in cinema halls with adherence to Covid norms after inaugurating the 26th edition of the Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF).

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who is also the state's ambassador, expressed his regret failing to attend the ceremony physically. He addressed the inaugural function virtually from Mumbai. Banerjee invited Shah Rukh, who attended all the KIFF's inauguration since 2011, to Kolkata on the day of Raksha Bandhan. "People of Bengal are like my family members and I expect to meet all at the earliest," Shah Rukh said wishing 2021 brings prosperity after almost a year-long hardships in 2020.

While addressing the inaugural ceremony at Nabanna Sabhaghar, the Chief Minister said: "We are increasing the occupancy limit in cinema halls from 50 to 100 per cent. But the cinema hall owners and authorities have to play a pivotal role in ensuring mandatory use of masks by audience and sanitisation after every screening."

It may be mentioned that cinema hall authorities wrote to Banerjee urging to allow 100 per cent occupancy to rejuvenate their business that received a major hit due to the lockdown.

The Chief Minister directed Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay to issue a notification on Friday itself allowing 100 per cent occupancy in cinema halls. "The day is not too far when Bengal is going to be number one in industry and the film industry is not out of it," Banerjee said.

Banerjee also urged everyone from the film fraternity to get their Swasthya Sathi card. "You all must collect your Swasthya Sathi card. It has been made universal for every resident of Bengal. I have also collected it by visiting Duare Sarkar camp."

Paying tribute to Satyajit Ray and Soumitra Chatterjee, screening of "Apur Sansar" took place at Rabindra Sadan as inaugural film of this edition of KIFF in which 81 feature films and 50 short and documentary films from 45 countries will be screened from January 9 to 15. Banerjee also paid tribute to Soumitra Chatterjee.

She urged the KIFF authorities to ensure that people who are not well accustomed to online facilities should not face any difficulty in entering eight state-run auditoriums as this time e-passes have been introduced in view of the Covid pandemic.

There will be three helpdesks - at Nandan, Cinema Centenary Building at Tollygunge and Rabindra Okakura Bhavan at Salt Lake – to help people finding difficulty in booking seats online. She also proposed screening of cinemas at Ektara Open Stage at Nandan.

The e-booking of tickets will no longer exist for films to be screened from January 11 onward. Delegates, guests and representatives of the Press will be allowed to enter the halls against their cards.

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