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26th Kolkata International Film Festival to Open With ‘Apur Sansar’ on January 8

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The 26th edition of the Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) will see auteur Satyajit Ray’s 1959 film Apur Sansar, the debut film of late actor Soumitra Chatterjee, being screened as the inaugural film.

The seven-day film fest will pay tribute to the veteran actor by screening eight more of Chatterjee’s films- Dekha, Wheel Chair, Ganadevata, Akash Kusum, Podokkhep, Kony, Mayurakshi and Bohoman.

Addressing a press meet on Saturday, West Bengal PWD minister and KIFF organiser Arup Biswas said that 131 films (including feature, short and documentary formats) will be screened across eight venues in Kolkata.

Actor and director Parambrata Chatterjee, a member of the KIFF organising committee, said that six films by Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini will be screened at the festival. He added that film tickets and delegate cards will be available online.

As a mark of tribute to those who died in 2020, the film festival will screen works of actors Irrfan Khan, Rishi Kapoor, Tapas Pal and Santu Mukherjee, directors Basu Chatterjee, Kim Ki-Duk, Fernando Solanas and danseuse Amala Shankar.

The annual Satyajit Ray Memorial Lecture, an anticipated event of the festival, will be delivered by Thappad director Anubhav Sinha, with this year’s topic being Social Responsibility in Mainstream India Cinema.

According to The Telegraph, in the competitive section, the Best Film and Best Director will get a cash prize of Rs 51 lakh and Rs 21 lakh, respectively, along with the Royal Bengal Golden Tiger trophy. In the Indian Languages section, the Best Film will get the Hiralal Sen Memorial Trophy and a cash prize of Rs 7 lakh. The Best Short Film and the Best Documentary Film will each get the Royal Bengal Golden Tiger Trophy and Rs 5 lakh.

Filipino director Brillante Mendoza will be the international jury board chairman, the report added.

KIFF, which is held every year in November, was postponed to January 2021 due to the rising cases of Covid-19 in Kolkata.

This year, while film screenings will be held physically only at government venues (Nandan, Rabindra Sadan, Calcutta Information Centre, Sisir Mancha, Chalachchitra Satabarsha Bhavan and Rabindra Okakura Bhavan), West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will virtually inaugurate the festival at the state government headquarter, Nabanna, on January 8.

The inauguration is usually a star-studded affair, with the likes of veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan along with other Hindi and Bengali actors and directors attending the gala event at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata.

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