KIFF: Positive and Alive, Says SRK; Historicals now Steeped in Jingoism: Big B
Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Kolkata: Appearing before cheering fans at the star-studded opening ceremony of the 28th Kolkata International Film Festival here on Thursday, megastars Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan spoke of staying positive and alive, and on the new crop of historical films being steeped in "fictionalised jingoism".
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee speaking after her star guests, asserted that her state always fights for humanity, unity and integrity, while Governor C V Ananda Bose, in his speech, described her as one of the most artistic CMs of Bengal.
"Hamare jaise positive log zinda hai (We are positive and alive),” Khan said in his speech before tens of thousands of fans and guests, who had converged at the Netaji Indoor Stadium for the film festival's inaugural.
This is being seen as a response to the criticism of his upcoming movie ‘Pathaan’. Protests have been staged in various parts of the country, alleging a community has been offended by the film’s song ‘Besharam Rang’.
"Cinema is the best place to sustain a counter-narrative that speaks to the larger nature of humankind," said Khan, who starred in the highly acclaimed movie `My Name is Khan' on the subject of Islamophobia.
The superstar also described cinema as a vehicle "for people of different colours, castes and religions to better understand each other".
While tracing the history of Indian cinema, Bachchan, who declared the 28th edition of KIFF open, described the current brand of historical movies as couched in fictionalised jingoism.
“Since early times there have been many changes in cinema content ... from mythological films and socialist cinema to the advent of the angry young man ... to the current brand of historicals, couched in fictionalised jingoism, along with moral policing,” the octogenarian superstar of Indian cinema said.
He added, “The range has kept audiences reflecting on the politics and social concerns” of the times.
The actor also pointed out that even now “questions are being raised on civil liberties and freedom” by Indian cinema.
Speaking towards the end of the function, the CM asserted that Bengal has a long history of struggle.
“Bengal has been fighting for unity, humanity, diversity and integrity. This struggle will go on,” she said.
Speaking of the legendary movie maker Satyajit Ray, with whom he had shared a close relationship, Bachchan pointed out that his 1989 movie 'Ganashatru’ (Enemy of the People) was perhaps an indication of how Ray may have reacted to the current times.
The movie 'Ganashatru' highlighted the struggle between religious superstition and medieval prejudices in a doctor’s fight against an epidemic.
Bachchan also thanked the City of Joy for giving him his first job and for giving his wife Jaya her “first film 'Mahanagar' (The Big City, 1963) directed by Satyajit Ray.” The actor’s first job was at Kolkata-based Bird & Co, a former British-owned firm.
An exhibition on the 80-year-old legendary actor's life and works will be showcased during the film festival, with the inaugural movie being 'Abhimaan'.
A total of 183 movies will be screened in 10 theatres across the city between December 16 and 22.
The chief minister said that Bachchan should be honoured with the Bharat Ratna for his immense contribution to Indian and world cinema.
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