A bouquet of 214 features and 152 shorts and documentaries from 76 nations would be on offer at the 25th Kolkata International Film Festival beginning on November 8 with a glamorous and glitzy ceremony to be graced by megastars Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan, organisers said on Friday.
Celebrated silver screen personalities Jaya Bachchan, Rakhee Gulzar, and Mahesh Bhatt, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Germany’s Oscar winning director Volker Schlondorff, “Sex Lies and Videotape” actress Andie MacDowell and Slovak film maker Dusan Hanak would be among the distinguished guests at the inauguration slated to be held in its customary venue Netaji Indoor stadium.
Satyajit Ray’s children’s classic “Goopy Gayen Bagha Baye” – celebrating its 50th year – would be the opening film at the eight day carnival, which has chosen Bengali actress Srabanti as the ‘thali girl’.
The fest, with Germany as the focus country, would see screenings in 17 venues across the city including the Nandan Complex, Rabindra Sadan, Sisir Mancha, various multiplexes and single screen theatres.
The festival, concluding on November 15, would play host to 116 films personalities, 56 of them foreigners representing 24 countries.
The competition section has laid out a whopping prize money of Rs 92 lakh, of which the best film would win a purse of Rs 51 lakh, while the best director stands to be awarded Rs 21 lakh.
In the Indian languages competition section, the best film would get Rs 7 lakh, and the best director Rs 5 lakh along with Hiralal Sen Memorial Trophies.
The best short film gets Rs 5 lakh, and the best documentary Rs 3 lakh, as against Rs 1 lakh given in each of the categories last year.
All winners will also receive the Royal Bengal Golden Tiger trophy.
The non-competitive section would include half a dozen films of famed director Basu Chatterjee as a special tribute, while the homage segment is dedicated to legendary Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci, six of whose classics will be screened. The segment would also feature acclaimed director Mrinal Sen, actor-director-screen writer Girish Karnad, music director Mohammed Zahur Khayyam, actress Vidya Sinha and Ruma Guha Thakurta, and Bengali film actors Chinmoy Roy and Swarup Dutta.
The coming edition of the annual carnival would pay Centenary tribute among others to Italian auteur Gillo Pontecorvo, singer Manna Dey and actress Karuna Bandopadhyay, who so beautifully portrayed the role of Apu-Durga’s mother Sarobjaya in Ray’s masterpiece “Pather Panchali”.
The festival’s much-awaited retrospective section would showcase films of German director Alexanadar Kluge and Slovak film maker Dusan Hanak.
The contemporary world cinema would be represented by 48 films released in 2019 – 29 under Cinema International and 19 under Maestro.
The fest will also present ten Indian films in rare languages headlined ‘Unheard India’, and eight restored classics – including “Goopy Gayen Bagha Bayen” – which have completed 50 years.
On the sidelines of the showpiece event, Kumar Shahani would deliver the Satyajit Ray Memorial Lecture, while Macdowell and Schlondorff have agreed to take Masters’ Class.
The Celebrating Celluloid fragment would re-introduce the 35 mm projection system, screening a total of ten films – six of them from Italy, two from Germany and the remaining two Indian ventures.
Altogether 23 Bengali films would be on show.