A day after the 18th Kolkata International Film Festival was inaugurated, actor Soumitra Chatterjee, a recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke award, said here on Sunday that the ceremony failed to live up to the “character of a film festival.”
“It did not carry the usual character of an inauguration ceremony that a film festival generally provides. It almost turned into a carnival,” Mr. Chatterjee told The Hindu.
The Kolkata International Film Festival, one of the most important events in the city’s cultural calendar, has witnessed major changes since the Trinamool Congress-led government came to power in the State last year. The venue of the inauguration ceremony was shifted to the Netaji Indoor Stadium from the Nandan complex, the epicentre of the festival.
“The opening of a film festival being held in a stadium is unheard of. Nowhere in the world is the venue for an opening chosen just because it can accommodate more people than the numbers a normal cinema house can seat. That itself is unacceptable,” Mr. Chatterjee said. He also felt that too much was being made of the glamorous opening ceremony and the stars present there. “If a Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini, Jean-Luc Godard or Satyajit Ray were to attend a film festival, would it be any less glamorous?” he asked.
Over the last two years, the organisers have included a number of films that would ordinarily be considered a part of mainstream cinema. This year a package of seven films starring Amitabh Bachchan will be screened.
Mr. Chatterjee was also unhappy that popular films were gaining prominence. “Film festivals are meant to focus on unusual films or films of an experimental nature, those that you would not find in normal course if you went to a theatre,” he said.