By Arnab Mitra
Kolkata: Kolkata International Film Festival’s (KIFF) 21st edition, which began on November 14 and is slated to continue till November 21, focuses on Hollywood classics, while bringing into limelight films in little-known Indian dialects.
Films from 61 countries will feature in the week-long West Bengal government organized event across 12 venues in the city. As many as 149 films by 137 directors will be screened at India’s second oldest film festival.
Famed Bollywood star Amitabh Bachhan inaugurated the event. Also attending, were his wife Jaya Bachhan, and actresses Sharmila Tagore, Vidya Balan, and Moushumi Chatterjee
‘Maestros of Bengal’, an original musical performance headlined the event, which was presided over by Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
NewsGram asked Tollywood actress Koneenica Banerjee on her opinion regarding the change in Bengali film quality in recent times.
“Every film holds a certain relevance, and the likability depends on the audience. It is true that the films now have deteriorated from the quality-films of the past. The main reason behind it is the commercialisation of films,” said Banerjee.
However, every trend comes to a point of change. “With the amazing work contributed by late Rituparno Ghosh, and directors like Srijit Mukherjee, we can hope the Bengali film industry will soon regain its former glory,” she added.
On being asked who she thought was the best director, the actress said, “This kind of comparison is really unjustified… Each and every director makes films according to his own view. They each have their own style. I think a film cannot immediately get a classic status. But after a hundred years, it may become much more prestigious.”
“The Bengali film industry cannot produce good films due to the pressure created by different advertising agencies and in the rush to compete with Bollywood and the film industry of the South,” said famed Bengali actor, Chiranjeet Chakraborty.
“However new directors like Srijit and Bappadityo are doing a wonderful job. Times are changing… But the brilliant work that Bengal produced before cannot be compared to those now. The old is gold,” he added.
“Manik da (Satyajit Ray), Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen, all worked in different genres and it’s really harsh to compare their work,” Chakraborty said on being asked whose work he liked the best.
Chakraborty stated that no art could be created without relevance, and believes that the Bengali film industry is doing much better at present, than the low-grade films it was producing during the 90’s.
“Tollywood produced a number of very low quality films during the 80s and 90s. I think it was because of the competitive market,” said Chakraborty. “But Rituparno da‘s Unishe April, which was released in 1994, was a ground-breaking piece of work. At present, Tollywood is making films of a much better quality.”
(Edited by Roshni Chakrabarty)