Just like in the past, posters of iconic films have come up in several prominent arterial intersections in Kolkata to mark the annual Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF). But to mark a sign of the times, the characters in the posters now wear masks.
Whether it’s Marlon Brando in The Godfather, Uttam Kumar in Saptapadi or Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra in Sholay, all don the ubiquitous face cover. The posters also include stills from Satyajit Ray and Charlie Chaplin classics. They bear the tagline ‘The show must go on’ and make an appeal to people to maintain physical distance, wear masks and use sanitisers.
The inauguration of the festival, which has been a star-studded event since the Trinamool Congress government came to power in 2011, will be a low-key affair this year. The inauguration of the festival will be from Nabanna Sabhaghar (an auditorium at the State Secretariat). Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan will participate in the virtual launch of the festival, which will go on till January 15.
“Together we will overcome this pandemic. But the show must go on. We are going ahead with #KIFF 2021 virtually, on a smaller scale. Glad that my brother @iamsrk will join us virtually at the inaugural event on January 8 at 4 p.m. Watch Kolkata International Film Festival live,” the Chief Minister had recently said on social media.
A total 131 films, including feature films, shorts and documentaries from 45 countries, will be screened at State-run venues Nandan, Rabindra Sadan, Calcutta Information Centre and Sisir Mancha, among others. While physical screenings will be held at these venues, the festival website states that “this edition is proposed primarily in the online mode for cinema lovers, critics, actors and others so that they continue to feel the pulse of the gala international film festival”.
The film that marks the inauguration will be Satyajit Ray’s classic Apur Sansar, the third film in the Apu trilogy featuring Soumitra Chatterjee. The festival will pay a special tribute to Chatterjee, the legendary actor who passed away due to COVID-19 complications in November.
The festival will also screen the films of actors Irrfan Khan, Rishi Kapoor, Tapas Pal, Santu Mukherjee, danseuse Amala Shankar, and directors Fernando Solanas, Kim Ki-Duk and Basu Chatterjee — all of whom passed away last year.
The festival will also pay a birth centenary tribute to Federico Fellini by screening six of his films.
KIFF has a competitive section where the best film and the best director are honoured with a cash award of ₹51 lakh and ₹21 lakh respectively.